Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Monday, May 15, 2006

US$408 MLN Subic-Clark-Tarlac Tollway To Be Completed By 2007

DINALUPIHAN, Bataan, Construction of the Philippines' 90 kilometre Subic-Clark-Tarlac tollway budgeted for about P21 billion (US$408.4 million) is more than 15 per cent completed and will be finished on 2007 as scheduled, the Bases Conversion Development Authority said Saturday.

Engr. Mel Doroteo, BCDA consultant for Phase I of the project, said the whole length of the project measuring about 50 kilometres from Pampanga to Bataan, Subic and Clark in Angeles is almost clear with little pockets remaining unpassable.

The project that started construction on July 2005 was divided into two phases.

Phase I, funded for P11 billion, is targetted for completion by November 2007.

On the other hand, Phase II has a total length of 40 kilometres that stretches from Clark to Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac.

This phase which costs P10 billion and was targeted for completion on August 2007.

Doroteo said the project construction has minor problems which had been addressed immediately by BCDA and its contractors.

The BCDA consultant was in Dinalupihan and conducted on the spot dialogue with farmers and residents affected by the four-lane road crossing hundreds of hectares of ricelands in the flood-prone Bataan town.

He was accompanied by Dinalupihan Mayor Joel Payumo and former Chairman Felicito Payumo of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.

The Payumos helped explained to the farmers the economic benefits the expressway will be bringing in the area.

They urged the landowners and farmers to air their concerns so proper measures can be instituted by BCDA and the Japanese contractor in the area, the Obayashi Construction under Project Engr. Raymond Tanglao.

Mayor Payumo said the multi-billion peso highway passes through 16 out of 34 barangays (community villages) in Dinalupihan connected to Floridablanca in Pampanga.

The Dinalupihan portion of the road has a length of 17 kilometres.

Tenant farmers and landowners in the affected area expressed worries that the expressway will cause more floodings and destroy their crops.

Former SBMA chair Payumo convinced BCDA consultant Doroteo and construction Engr. Tanglao to heed the request of farmers who, he said, know best the movement of flood waters in their ricefields. The elder Payumo acted as go-between with the farmers and the BCDA.

Some concrete pipe culverts were changed into box culverts that will serve as passage of farm equipments in and out of the farm and the installation of three box culverts in addition to those specified in the plans were agreed upon by the farmers and the BCDA and Tanglao.

The BCDA consultant said the road from Luakan to Pita in Dinalupihan alone will have 40 water openings in addition to a 25 metre viaduct and four bridges.

"We have designed the project based on the worst floods that happened in the area for the last 50 years," Doroteo said.

The Obayashi engineer made the assurance that water openings will be in place before La Nina strikes.

Tanglao said they are even willing to cut or excavate on strategic points of the road should floods occur and threaten the crops.



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