BUS operators are waiting for the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7 to give the go-signal to use the Saliring Bridge, which is temporarily supported by bailey panels, in the southwestern town of Malabuyoc.

Like the Dumlog Bridge in the southeastern town of Sibonga, one side of the Saliring Bridge’s approach was damaged when tropical depression Queenie struck last November.

Malabuyoc Mayor Lito Narciso Creus said the DPWH 7 placed “bailey panels” on the approach going to Ginatilan to allow light vehicles like multicabs, tricycles and motorcycles to pass the area.

Creus said buses were allowed to pass but their passengers had to disembark before these could cross the bridge.

But after typhoon Seniang struck eight days ago, the bridge is once again impassable.

Recovering loss

Saliring Bridge is in Barangay Sto. Niño, around 127 kilometers from Cebu City.

It has a capacity of five to 10 tons. It connects Barangay Poblacion, Malabuyoc and the town of Ginatilan.

Vallacar Transit Cebu branch manager Carmelo Palasan said they will wait for DPWH 7’s advice today on whether they can use the bridge again.

The bailey panels will remain on the bridge, while repairs on the approach are ongoing.

Palasan, who was present during the meeting attended by Gov. Hilario Davide III, DPWH 7 officials, bus operators and Sibonga officials, said he is happy that a temporary steel bridge will be placed at the Dumlog Bridge.

Cebu Provincial Bus Operators Association president Richard Corominas said that although their income has been affected, they can still recover their loss because the buses that are stranded on the other side of the Dumlog Bridge can still carry passengers and goods to the south.

“The government is doing everything to accommodate the public transport and (that) the services of goods can be brought from point to point,” Corominas told reporters.

Improving the route

During the meeting at the Capitol yesterday, Corominas suggested to Davide that the alternative route should be improved so there won’t be a problem if a similar calamity strikes.

In a separate interview, Davide said it is important for DPWH 7 to regularly inspect existing bridges and roads in the province to check their condition.

In a related development, the DPWH 7 yesterday said it needs to shift the re-alignment of portions of the Transcentral Highway that collapsed at the height of tropical storm Seniang because of water sippage under the road.

Speaking during the 888 News Forum, DPWH 7 Director Ador Canlas said they will get funds to repair the destroyed portions of the highway from the DPWH annual fund embedded in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) 2015.

He said the GAA will take effect either in the second or third week of this week.

Considering request

Canlas also said they want to reopen Dumlog Bridge before the Sinulog celebration on Jan. 18.

District Engineer Nicomedes Leonor of the DPWH 2nd Engineering District said they inspected the bridge last Jan. 4 with the governor, Sibonga Mayor Lionel Bacaltos and Rep. Gerald Anthony Gullas Jr. (Cebu, 1st district).

“The immediate decision was to install a foot bridge for the pedestrians, which was made passable last Sunday. The collection of donations by bystanders who earlier installed their own foot bridge had stopped,” Leonor said.

Meanwhile, Canlas said they are considering the request of Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama to suspend road-concreting works during the Sinulog celebration.

“There is really a need to suspend works during the Sinulog, but we are also considering the time line to finish the projects,” he said.