PGMA orders DPWH to fast track construction of Nichols Bridge in Alimodian, Iloilo

August 13, 2009 10:26 am 

ILOILO CITY, Aug 13 –- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Thursday ordered the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to fast track the construction of the 150-lineal meter Nichols Bridge in Alimodian Iloilo.

President Arroyo issued the instruction during the groundbreaking of the P166. 4 million project Thursday, which is being implemented under the Urgent Bridges Construction Projects for Rural Development (UBCPRD) of the President’s Bridge Program Office (PBPO).

DPWH Undersecretary Rafael Yabut, during the project briefing, assured President Arroyo that the contractor will be working 24/7 to hasten its construction and cut short the expected completion of the project which was supposedly slated February 2011.

The Nichols Bridge, spanning the Aganan River, was one of the nine bridges in Panay destroyed by typhoon "Frank" in 2008.

It is one of the 18 bridges that will be constructed in Panay Island to mitigate the impact of past disasters.

President’s Bridge Program Executive Director Emil Sadain said that due to “scarcity of funds some of those that were destroyed were taken over under the regional infrastructure of the DPWH-6 and others from the Paglaum Fund.”

The Nichols Bridge which is “a long time dream of Alimodian” connects the town’s 17 barangays to the Poblacion. The barangays located at the eastern portion of the town supply rice and corn as well as high-value crops to the mainland.

Meantime, heads of several barangays that will benefit from the project also expressed their gratefulness to President Arroyo.

Brgy. Captain Elias Andoloy of Brgy. Sinaway said residents of all the 17 towns were happy upon knowing that the bridge will be constructed.

“The project will make it easier for us to transfer our products to the poblacion. It will also be safer for our children because they no longer have to cross the river each time they go to school,” Andoloy said.

Danilo Canogoran of Brgy. Ugbo, also shared similar opinion. Brgy. Ugbo is situated 16 kilometers away from the poblacion.

During rainy season he said that they have to pass by San Miguel town when they go to Alimodian proper which would take them about an hour compared to the 30-minute travel time when through the Nichols Bridge.

“This is one good project that would surely benefit our people,” he said.

Bgy. Balabago barangay captain Jeffrey Alcubilla owns a farm across the Aganan River. He said the Nichols Bridge would make it faster for him to transport his products back to the poblacion.

Meantime, Maura Andrea, barangay captain of Cabacanan Proper, one of Alimodian’s seven barangays dubbed as seven cities and situated some 24 kilometers away from the town proper is also appreciative of the project.

She shared that school children would no longer find it difficult to go to school in the poblacion once the project is completed.

Cabacanan Proper is the farthest barangay of Alimodian and they have to cross several rivers before they can reach the town proper.

Mayor Alipao explained that aside from providing access to the town’s 17 barangays, Nichols Bridge will also make it easier for those coming from Alimodian to go to the new Iloilo airport in Cabatuan.

The travel time, he said, will take only about 20 minutes.

In addition to access and safer travel, the project also provided temporary source of income to several residents of Alimodian.

Ramon Almacen Jr., the fourth among 15 siblings in the family, said that his income will go a long way since his parents are dependent on farming as their only source of livelihood.

Almacen will earn P1,400/per month as a laborer.

“I am very thankful to President Arroyo,” he said. “We are very happy with this project.”

Perlito Perez, on the other hand, is from Iligan City and he was hired as foreman of the Toyo Construction, the contractor of the project.

The groundbreaking ceremony was also attended by Presidential Assistant for Western Visayas Raul Banias, Gov, Niel Tupas, Secretary Augusto Syjuco, 2nd district Rep. Judy Syjuco and representatives of the contractor firm from Japan.

Assistant Secretary Banias meanwhile said the expeditious completion of the bridge project may require find engineering solutions to ensure the quality of the project.

The superstructure will be precast and concrete girder resting on bored piles. Preliminary activities on the site included the laying of vertical and horizontal controls and driving of sheet piles in preparation for pored piling works.(PNA)/V3/AJP/PGLena/vlo/

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