By Emme Rose S. Santiagudo
ILOILO CITY — The construction of four flyovers in the Metro Iloilo area, at a total cost of P1.2 billion, starts this week with completion targets of the end of 2021, according to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
The first to be built is the 453.70-meter Ungka II flyover, located at the junction of Sen. Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. Avenue and Iloilo Circumferential Road in Pavia, northeast of Iloilo City.
“For Ungka, we will be mobilizing on Monday our heavy equipment. The contractors will put up barricades, signage, and solar blinkers in the area,” DPWH-Western Visayas Assistant Director Jose Al V. Fruto said in a news conference Friday.
The second lined up is the Aganan flyover at the junction of Sen. Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. Avenue and Felix Gorriceta, Jr. Avenue, also in Pavia.
Funding for the two projects, at P480 million for Ungka II and P560 million for Aganan, comes from the 2019 and 2020 budgets, Mr. Fruto said.
The two other flyovers, Hibao-an and Buhang, are in Iloilo City with an initial estimated cost of P100 million and P80 million, respectively.
Mr. Fruto said the agency is finalizing costing for the two, but hopes to commence construction work within the year.
“We target to finish the construction of the four flyovers by 2021,” he said, adding that the goal is to have infrastructure that will keep up with or get ahead of economic development in Iloilo.
“It seems that we are being overtaken by the overwhelming progress of Iloilo. We must (move) with it and at least be at par with it,” he said.
The Metro Iloilo area, also referred to as Metro Iloilo-Guimaras, covers Iloilo City, the neighboring towns of Pavia, Oton, Leganes, Santa Barbara, Cabatuan and San Miguel, and the neighboring island province of Guimaras.
With the construction of the first two flyovers, Mr. Fruto said the goal is the uninterrupted flow of traffic between Iloilo City and the Iloilo International Airport in Cabatuan.
He added that the projection is for an increase in the number of vehicles upon completion of the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Interisland Bridge, which has received final approval from the national government.
Iloilo City’s Public Safety Transportation and Management Office head, Jeck D. Conlu, meanwhile, said a traffic management plan is ready for implementation in the areas that will be affected by the construction, particularly in Barangay Sambag in Jaro district and the intersection of Ungka.
Motorists are also advised to use alternate routes such as the Iloilo-Sta. Barbara road, and the Oton-San Miguel-Sta. Barbara road.
“We are really asking for consideration from our road users, motorists, drivers, and commuters that our projects will entail traffic congestion. It is part of the birthing pains of the project but once we finish it, we will all benefit from it,” Mr. Fruto said.