THE Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) maintains a keen focus in partially opening by 2024 the first 10.7-kilometer central portion of the 45.5-kilometer Davao City Bypass Construction Project by accelerating on-going excavation activities in the construction of twin tube road mountain tunnel.

In an inspection on Thursday, December 1, 2022, DPWH Senior Undersecretary Emil K. Sadain expressed optimism that excavation works for the 2.3-kilometer soon to be first-ever long-distance mountain tunnel in the Philippines will be completed by December 2023.

The Davao City tunnel, with a north portal in Barangay Waan and south portal at the other end in Barangay Matina Biao, is a major component of the 10.7-kilometer contract package 1-1.

Sadain in his report to Secretary Manuel M. Bonoan said that the joint venture contractor Shimizu-Ulticon-Takenaka led by Project Director Akira Mito have so far excavated, sprayed concrete or shotcrete”, and installed steel ribs support reinforcement and rockbolts on the tunnel distance of 332 meters on northbound and 247 meters on southbound for south portal while progress for north portal is at 292 meters on southbound and 232 meters on northbound directions.

“We are fast-tracking the simultaneous construction of the road mountain tunnel in four areas of its north and south portals," added Sadain.

The tunnel construction works for the Davao City Bypass Construction Project started at the north portal on November 19, 2021 in the southbound direction, and on December 10, 2021 in the northbound direction.

Meanwhile, excavation activities from the opposite end at the south portal commenced on May 12, 2022 in the northbound direction and on June 9, 2022 in the southbound direction.

After the activities at the north portal were temporarily halted by water seepage on the tunnel roof, the use of Japanese waterproofing technology and materials has helped the DPWH and its contractor address this problem.

Other than the tunnel, contract package 1-1 involves the construction of a four-lane road with a length of 7.9 kilometers; three pairs of bridges with a total length of 500 meters including the Davao River Bridge; two underpasses and two overpasses; 12 waterways culverts; and four at-grade intersections.

This ongoing contract package 1-1 costing P13.23 Billion is financed by Special Terms for Economic Partnership (STEP) Loan between the Philippines and Japan International Cooperation Agency under loan agreement numbers PH-P261 and PH-P273.

The Davao City ByPass Road Construction Project is being implemented by DPWH Unified Project Management Office - Roads Management Cluster 1 (Bilateral) headed by Project Director Benjamin A. Bautista and under the on-site supervision and monitoring by Project Manager Joselito B. Reyes and Project Engr. Juan M. Diña Jr. with Nippon Koei – Katahira - Nippon Engineering - Philkoei as engineering consultants.

Once completed, the entire bypass road will slash travel time between Toril, Davao City and the northern Panabo City, Davao Del Norte to under 49 minutes from the usual more or less two hours via Maharlika Highway. DPWH