Construction of nine subsections of the P7.9 billion storm surge protection road heightening and tide embankment project in Leyte are now on track, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said.
The ongoing construction under section 4 covers 7.80 kilometers of seawall in some parts of the San Jose district in this city; Candahug, Macarthur Memorial Landing National Park, Baras, and Cogon villages in Palo town.
The government had set aside P2.38 billion for the nine subsections.
The four-meter wide structure is designed as a bicycle lane, according to DPWH Eastern Visayas Regional Director Edgar Tabacon in a mobile phone interview.
The DPWH divided the project into six sections with 30 subsections. Other sections have not yet started due to ongoing detailed engineering, feasibility, alignments, and public consultations.
“For sections 1 and 2, there are proposals to make the tide embankment as alternative road. It’s not yet approved because we are considering the technical, social, environmental and economic aspects,” Tabacon told PNA.
The infrastructure agency will bid out within this year the P700 million for section 6 in Tanauan town. Bidded out earlier was the P1.2 billion for some parts of Sections 5 and 6.
The project, also tagged as Leyte’s “Great Wall”, was supposed to prioritize the coastal communities from Tacloban City Astrodome to San Jose district, but it was put on hold pending the relocation of families within the danger zones.
The 27.3-kilometer project stretches from Diit village in Tacloban to Cabuynan village in Tanauan town. Sections 1 to 3 are in Tacloban, section 4 are the coastal villages of Tacloban and Palo, section 5 are some areas in Palo and Tanauan, and section 6 in Tanauan town.
The project will protect 33.7 square meters area of properties and 33,185 houses and buildings.
The four-meter high structure was pushed through by the previous administration after the 2013 storm surges wiped out neigborhoods in Leyte province.
Meanwhile, the Samar provincial government is seeking P1.1 billion to upgrade the existing road and bridges that link the two economically-depressed towns of Samar province.
Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan, said they have already secured the endorsement of the Regional Development Council during the body’s second quarter meeting for funding support from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
The improved access road is expected to unlock economic opportunities in two of the poorest farming and fishing towns in the region.
The towns of Talalora and Villareal posted a poverty incidence of 47 percent and 42 percent, respectively, based on the latest report of the Philippine Statistics Authority.
The distance between the two towns is 16 kilometers.
“Due to bad road, people from these places take a boat ride to Babatngon, Leyte or Biliran province to buy and sell products especially during rainy days. This is the reason why there’s a slow economic circulation in Samar province,” Tan added.
The governor is optimistic that the road link will be concreted within the term of President Rodrigo Duterte. She recalled that some funds have been poured for the road opening activities in the past. PNA