Pangasinan board supports Villaverde Road construction

September 16, 2015 6:01 am 

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan, Sept. 15 — The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) has expressed its support to the construction of the Villaverde Road linking Pangasinan to Nueva Vizcaya that will soon become the alternate road from Manila to Cagayan Valley.

The SP was elated to know from Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) assistant regional director Ronnel Tan that an initial fund of P300 million to jump start the project was allocated by his office this year and another P280 million next year.

The road that will link San Nicolas town in Pangasinan all the way to Sta. Fe, Nueva Vizcaya, will need some P500 million more till its completion in 2017 and 2018.

Tan bared during the question hour of Sangguniang Panlalawigan regular session held on September 14 that the initial funding of P300 million be utilized for the construction of a 63-linear meter bridge and 23-km road line which starts in Barangay Sta. Maria in San Nicolas.

There will be three more bridges to be built in 2016 at a cost of P280 million.

Construction will be only up to the Pangasinan side of the highway. The Nueva Vizcaya side was already completed.

SP members led by Vice Governor Jose Ferdinand Calimlim hailed the project which can make travel to Nueva Vizcaya from Metro Manila faster, serving as an alternate route in case Dalton Pass in Nueva Vizcaya is closed due to landslide.

The Villaverde Road traverses the Caraballo, Cordillera and Sierra Madre mountain ranges.

The DPWH Bureau of Maintenance ordered the closure of the road line since the 1980s because it was not readily maintainable and had a low-carrying average daily traffic (ADT). Its bad condition even became worse because of the 1990 killer earthquake which caused massive road slips and landslides, making most parts of the road not passable for traffic.

Tan said that the work on the road will be concentrated in the 'missing gaps’ or remaining portions that are not yet paved, including the construction of four bridges along the stretch.

Once completed, the road will be opened in 2018. Total cost of the project is P1.5 billion.

For his part, Sixth District Board Member Ranjit Shahani said that the completion of the road rehabilitation project will benefit the indigenous peoples residing in the area.

The boundary dispute between San Nicolas, Pangasinan and Sta. Fe, Nueva Vizcaya is irrelevant in the construction of the new road, Shahani said.

Pangasinan and Nueva Vizcaya are currently embroiled in a boundary dispute over barangay Malico, the highest peak in the Caraballo Mountain range which has a climate similar to that of Baguio and is being eyed by Pangasinan as a mountain resort. (PNA)



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