City gov’t wants construction of vital bridge in GenSan resumed

GENERAL SANTOS CITY — The city government is pushing for the resumption before the end of the month of the construction works on a vital bridge along the P1.135 billion city circumferential road project after almost a year of delay due to right-of- way problems.

City Mayor Ronnel Rivera said Friday they have totally cleared the project site in Barangay Apopong here of illegal housing structures that earlier led to the suspension of the bridge project.

The city government facilitated on Wednesday the demolition of 18 housing structures that were situated within and near the right-of-way of the Silway Bridge in Purok Maunlad of Barangay Apopong.

The clearing operation was assisted by personnel from the Department of Public Works and Highways and elements from the Army-led Joint Task Force GenSan and the General Santos City Police Office.

The mayor said they negotiated with residents or owners of the houses in the area for over a year before proceeding with their demolition.

He said the local government, through the City Housing and Land Management Office, had issued notices to vacate, orders to self-demolish and set a number of meetings with the settlers to resolve the problem but they refused to heed them.

“This is a priority project of the city and it needs to proceed to facilitate the completion of the circumferential road,” Rivera said.

The DPWH-General Santos Engineering District had noted that the housing structures mushroomed in the area late last year.

The agency was later forced to suspend the implementation of the project due to the presence of the housing structures within the site, especially along the banks of the Silway River.

The Silway Bridge project is located along the northern section of the 26.7-kilometer city circumferential road.

The bridge will mainly connect the road’s 10.5-kilometer northern section with the western section, which goes all the way to the city international airport and the city fish port complex.

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.

Based on a report released by the Regional Project Monitoring Committee of Regional Development Council (RDC) of Region 12, the project’s first phase, which has a contract cost of P61.873 million, was started by Grace Construction Corp. in June last year.

Its second phase was scheduled to begin last March 14 but was suspended on April 26 due to the delays faced by the initial phase as a result of the right-of-way problem.

The bridge project’s second phase has a contract cost of P99.8 million and targeted for completion in March next year.

The RDC earlier said the completion of the project will mainly decongest traffic along the city’s major streets and provide a better linkage for the city’s peripheral areas.

It said the circumferential road is expected to bring economic impact through easy facilitation of transporting of goods to and from the seaport, fishport 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, it added. (MindaNews)