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DPWH: No chance of realignment for Samal Bridge amid calls to save the reefs

THE CONSTRUCTION of the Samal Island-Davao Connector (SIDC) bridge project is now 4.197% complete with the continued laying of bored piles, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)–Unified Project Management Office-Bridges Management Cluster (UPMO-BMC) reported on Monday.

Engr. Rodrigo Delos Reyes, project director, said the detailed engineering design is at 94% and is targeted to be completed in July. 

He stressed there is no chance for realignment amid calls of environmentalist groups to realign Samal Bridge, which started in October 2022, and spare the reefs/marine life in Davao Gulf. 

Sa ngayon po palagay ko, kita niyo naman kung anong takbo ng trabaho, kung mag realign tayo baka malaki ang pera masasayang natin sa ating accomplishment. Marami na pong bored piles na nakabaon as pundasyon ng tulay, anong gagawin natin doon di naman pwedeng bunutin.” he said.

He added the remaining 6% for the detailed engineering design covers the ramps while the alignment of the bridge is already complete.

Presently, the China Bridge and Road Corp. already laid down  24 bored piles from the total 74 that need to be installed in the alignment. Bored piles are cylindrical bodies made of concrete buried in the ground to support structures with heavy vertical loads. 

Delos Reyes shared road right-of-way issues are one of the factors for the delay of the completion, which was supposed to be finished by 2027 but was postponed to September 2028. He however denied a lack of funds as one factor.

He said RROW  issues included 10 lots on the Samal side and four on the Davao side of the project. However, they were given a writ of possession in January this year. Payments for the properties are ongoing.

On the tree-cutting activities, Delos Reyes clarified there were 294 trees cut in Davao and 192 in Samal. He added they planted a total of 29,400 trees planted in Davao and 1,200 in Samal in 2023 way before the bridge construction started.

Delos Reyes stressed they were granted a permit by the barangay, CENRO, and complied with the requirements of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to replant 100 trees for every tree cut down.

He said they have complied with the necessary environmental compliance certificate and denied heritage trees were also cut down, contrary to the environmental group claims.

He also clarified a multipartite monitoring team has been established since April 20, 2023, which is composed of the city government, DENR, CENRO, barangay units from both cities, the military personnel, and the Samal Island Beach Resort Association.

Ito po ay inter agency kasama natin ang City Government of Davao, siguro sasabihin nila sa amin na kung magpuputol man kami wag yang isang yan, di pwede yan, pero wala naman sinasabi sa amin ang grupo ng monitoring,” he said.

On the impact of the bridge on corals, he said there have been no reports of affected corals, if any rate there are, they will replace it with artificial coral reefs, which have been successful in other places in the country, citing Batangas for example.

Delos Reyes stressed if the underwater activities commence, they will install “dust curtains” to reduce impacts on the corals.


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