GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 23 July) – The Regional Development Council (RDC) of Region 12 has called for the immediate resolution of the road right-of-way problems that have been hampering the completion of the long delayed P1.135-billion city circumferential road project.
Arturo Valero, chair of the RDC’s Regional Project Monitoring Committee (RPMC), said the city government and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) should act decisively on the matter to fast-track the ongoing construction of the project.
He said such problem has specifically slowed down the road concreting works at the project’s northern section and the construction of its two component bridges – Silway Bridge Phase I and Lower Apopong Bridge II.
Citing a report submitted by the RPMC’s composite field monitoring team, Valero said that the upgrading of the road project’s northern section from gravel to concrete surface was not completed as targeted on October 13, 2013.
He said the project component’s physical accomplishment is currently at about 91 percent and with negative slippage of 9 percent.
The problem was mainly due to the unresolved compensation issues in negotiations with owners of properties affected by the project, he said.
“Adding to the long delay in its completion was the failure of the project contractor to provide adequate manpower and equipment,” said Valero, who is also acting RDC-12 chair and regional director of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) in Region 12.
The official said the monitoring team also found out that Silway Bridge project was not completed based on its targeted date of completion last March 14, due to road right-of-way problems.
The project has an overall accomplishment so far of 94 percent and negative slippage of 6 percent, he said.
He said the same problem also affected the construction of the Lower Apopong Bridge II, which has an accomplishment rate of 83.5 percent and a negative slippage of 16.5 percent.
“This bridge project is considered highly critical to the completion and opening of the northern section of the circumferential road,” Valero said.
Aside from the resolution of the road right-of-way problems, the RPMC asked the city government to include the pending project components in its regular monitoring and to furnish the committee with copies of its monitoring findings and recommendations.
It also urged the DPWH-12 to closely monitor its commissioned contractors, specifically in terms of accomplishment, quality of work and the provision of adequate manpower and equipment at the project site.
Engr. Nael Cruspero, city planning and development coordinator, said the local government already created a team that will assist the DPWH-12 in addressing the road right-of-way problems.
He said the local government has been negotiating with families or property owners who would be affected by the developments along the remaining portions of the project’s western and northern sections in Barangay Mabuhay here.
The construction of the 26.7-kilometer city circumferential road project started in 1998 but its completion was hampered by funding problems during the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
President Benigno S. Aquino III later endorsed the release of the project’s required funds and pushed for its completion this year.
The circumferential road’s northern section starts from the diversion road along the General Santos-Davao highway in Barangay Katangawan and stretches to the Sinawal road along the General Santos-Isulan highway in Barangay Apopong.
When fully completed, vehicles coming from and bound for key areas within southern and southwestern Mindanao could use the northern section as alternate route instead of passing by the city’s congested downtown area.
A report from the DPWH Region 12 noted that the circumferential road is expected to bring economic impact through easy transport of goods to and from the seaport, fish port and the city airport.
It will serve as road artery in transporting goods and passengers leading to Sarangani province, Davao del Sur and Davao City, the report said.