THOSE who depend on buses and trucks to reach Cebu City from some southern towns will have to wait one more week before they can use the old route that crossed Barangay Dumlog in Sibonga town.

Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7 Director Ador Canlas headed yesterday the launching or installation of steel decks, which are among the main parts of a temporary steel bridge that vehicles will be able to use.

The steel bridge had to be constructed after an 18-meter approach to the Dumlog bridge collapsed during a flash flood caused by tropical storm Seniang. The bridge connects Argao and Sibonga towns.

Canlas said the installation of the steel decks may take five days, but that DPWH will try their best to do it faster.

Now in place

Agency officials hope the steel bridge will be passable before the key events of the Sinulog festival, which include the solemn procession on Jan. 17 and the grand parade on the day after.

At least 133 steel plates will be placed on the temporary bridge.

Yesterday, the materials needed for the steel bridge arrived, including the transoms (which will hold the steel decks) and trailer. The heavy equipment and transoms were supposed to arrive last Thursday from Cagayan de Oro, but the DPWH encountered a problem.

The steel bridge will be 59.076 meters long and will have a 35-meter approach on both ends.

The temporary link will have the same capacity as the original bridge, which is 20 tons.

The steel bridge will be elevated two meters above the level of the original structure, so that the DPWH can repair the damaged approach.

Engineer Elvis Calunod, chief of the DPWH 7 maintenance division, showed the construction plan for the bridge, which is composed of six stages, from deliveries to installation.

Calunod said the steel bridge will cost around P5.59 million, which will be taken from the DPWH’s Quick Response Fund for 2014.

24 hours

DPWH is working 24 hours a day to beat its target date for the steel bridge to be passable. They started the construction last Tuesday.

“That was a one-day delay (caused by the late arrival of some equipment and the transoms). We cannot afford to lose another day,” Canlas said.

Aside from Canlas, district engineers and officials of the district engineering offices of Cebu City, sixth, second and fourth attended yesterday’s event.

Canlas said he wanted other officials to witness the installation of steel decks for this kind of bridge.

Earlier this week, Calunod said the program of works for the repair of the original bridge was already submitted to the DPWH Central Office.

The DPWH 7 will need P31.3 million to rehabilitate the damaged Dumlog bridge.

The funds may be taken from the Quick Response Fund or calamity fund of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council for this year, according to the DPWH 7 director.

Approach only

Calunod clarified that only the 18-meter approach of Dumlog bridge collapsed. The 15-meter span of the bridge still exists.

Instead of rehabilitating the damaged approach, Calunod said another 21-meter bridge will be constructed to connect to the existing bridge.

Replicating the original specifications would only lead to the possibility of another collapse during a flood, he said.

Once the original bridge is repaired, the steel bridge will be detached, a process that will take one to two days, according to Canlas.

He said the footbridge, which was placed near the steel bridge, will remain unless it blocks the flow of water.

Tata Laude, who manages a restaurant near the Dumlog bridge, said their sales were affected after Seniang damaged the bridge.

Saliring OK

She said their regular customers are from Dumaguete City.

Since the accident, buses have had to take another route to avoid the site in Dumlog, which has meant fewer customers for Laude’s restaurant.

Meanwhile, the Saliring bridge in Barangay Sto. Niño, Malabuyoc is now passable.

Engineer Jocelyn Orcullo, maintenance chief of Cebu’s Fourth Engineering District, said this was opened to buses and trucks at 9 p.m. last Thursday.

Saliring Bridge was damaged by tropical depression Queenie, which struck last November, and then again damaged by Seniang last Dec. 30.

Sixteen bailey panels were placed to support the bridge, which has a capacity of up to 10 tons.