Work on bypass road still suspended

Work on bypass road still suspended

THE Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7 is waiting for the results of the geodetic investigation to determine the status of the soil on portions of Segment 3 of the Metro Cebu Expressway (MCE) project.

DPWH 7 Director Ernesto Gregorio Jr. said they were forced to halt construction when landslides occurred in Barangays Inayagan and Cantao-an in the City of Naga that are traversed by Segment 3A of the project last October.

“We are already in the process of formulating permanent countermeasures through the utilization of a private geotechnical firm. There is this high-tech soil interpretation on the underlying soil strata,” Gregorio said during the 2024 First Quarter Meeting of the Infrastructure Development Committee (IDC) of the Regional Development Council 7 on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024.

The result of the soil investigation will be used to formulate permanent countermeasures that will address the risk of ground movement, he said.

“Once you have enough data sa (on the) underlying soil strata, you will be able to analyze what caused this movement and such and what the probable solutions should be established,” he said.

He said the agency is slated to receive the result of the soil investigation study next week.

Gregorio said the affected road section has been closed for safety concerns.

According to the DPWH website, Segment 3A, which has a length of 4.2 kilometers, is 90.03 percent finished.

Residents in the vicinity of the landslide were already evacuated and relocated. They also received financial assistance from the City of Naga Government, he said.

An alternative route or detour was recently opened and has been operational to allow residents from other areas not affected by the ground slip to access the expressway.

The DPWH 7 official said they have undertaken “remedial measures” since the last quarter of 2023 to address the risk of ground slippage.

This included the excavation of a massive deposit of soil in the area that poses a safety hazard, he said, adding that it was done slowly and meticulously for the safety of their workers.

“It has been observed that the ground movement has slowed down. That is a positive development,” Gregorio said in a mix of Cebuano and English.

Civil works on Segment 3A of the MCE started in Barangay Pangdan in the City of Naga in March 2019. It was slated to be finished before the end of then President Rodrigo Duterte’s term, only to be delayed by budget constraints.

During Thursday’s meeting, IDC chairman Kenneth Cobunpue approved the endorsement of several DPWH 7’s Programs and Projects (PAPs) under the Regional Development Investment Program for funding in Fiscal Year 2025.

Among the PAPs were the MCE (Segment 3A); New Mactan-Cebu 4th Bridge and Coastal Road Construction Project; the Panglao-Tagbilaran City Offshore Bridge Connector Project; and the Asset Preservation: Rehabilitation/ Reconstruction of Roads with Slips, Slope Collapse, and Landslide.

The MCE spans 56.94 kilometers and consists of three segments. Segments 1, 2, and 3A are funded by the government, while Segment 3B is slated to be a public-private partnership.

After completion, the project will act as a major north-south transportation route, connecting the City of Naga in the south to Danao City in the north, passing through the mountain ranges of Cebu.

The project aims to significantly reduce traffic congestion in Metro Cebu by providing an uninterrupted traffic flow.


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