DPWH Bukidnon seeks probe on structural integrity of broken bridge

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/8 December)—Engineers of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPHW) who built the Uguiaban Bridge—considered a vital link between this city and the provinces of Bukidnon, North Cotabato and Lanao del Sur—are in hot water after a full investigation on the bridge’s structural integrity has been sought.

Engr. Honorato B. Saldua, DPWH Bukidnon Third District officer, said in an interview that he has “already submitted to our Manila office a request to conduct a full investigation for the structural stability of the bridge.”

Debris and floodwater broke the 12-year old Uguiaban Bridge last Tuesday as super Typhoon Pablo (international name Bopha), which carried maximum sustained winds of 175 kilometer per hour (kph) and gustiness of up to 210 kph and a rainfall ratio of 20 to 30 millimeter per hour, pummeled this city.

“We want to know the flaws of the design of the bridge so we can factor that in as we study a different design for the new bridge,” said Saldua.

Saldua said the repair of the bridge will cost the national government around P65 million. However, he did not give a time frame for the repairs of the bridge.

In an interview, Bukidnon Governor Alex Calingasan considered the loss of the Uguiaban Bridge as having a great effect on the transport of agricultural produce from their province to this city, where major terminals are located.

“This bridge should be repaired the soonest time possible because this is the shortest route from Talakag, Bukidnon to Cagayan de Oro,” Calingasan said. (Cong B. Corrales/MindaNews)