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ROUGH CUTS | Emerging baby ‘white elephant’ project

THREE major infrastructure projects of the government are identifiable with Davao City more than these are to Mindanao. These projects are the still unfinished but already too much hyped Davao City Coastal Road; the By-pass road from Bunawan in the north sector of the city to Sirawan in the city south; and the Davao City-Samal Island Connector (bridge) Project. All three are budgeted with multi-billion pesos foreign loans.

     We are not including here the ambitious but long-derailed Mindanao Railway Project, which from the very start was already doomed to fail. Even the talks of the implementation of the first phase of the project were just that – talks. Nothing more because instead of working first on the acquisition of right-of-ways, the government, through its mostly Manila-based mouthpieces aided by their local extensions, strongly harped on the start of the first phase but forgot about where the railway is to pass. As a result, the railway project is derailed instead of the train missing the railway tracks.

     Of course, we are proud that of the three big-ticket infrastructure projects, two of these already have substantial accomplishments. The Coastal Road’s completed portion is now used to showcase the beauty of the project once fully accomplished. Aside from being the route of vehicles coming to the city proper from either the north or south of the city once opened, there are side projects that can serve as playgrounds, promenades, and biking, and hiking lanes. And the road will afford passers-by a complete view of Davao Bay in all directions.

     Unfortunately though, if the passers-by train their eyes on the city side, they might get the biggest disappointment of their lives. That is, if it happens that by the time they change the direction of their gaze toward the city, they are in the section where there are agglomerations of informal settlers’ communities.  

     On the other hand, the By-pass Road project is also getting a good review from those who have seen the accomplished portion of the project.  The twin tunnels are more or less finished, and perhaps to many Davaoeneos, when the by-pass road is allowed vehicular traffic, they will get the experience of getting inside mine tunnels with hardly any breathing aid. Personally we were awed ourselves when we had the chance to get closed to both the ingresses and egresses of the kilometers-long tunnels, and we marveled at how engineering does wonders in the world.

     Meanwhile, we hope the Samal Island-Davao City Connector Bridge Project will go beyond the present boring of holes status to get a feel of the underground/water capacity to hold the full bridge weight above. And we are hoping as well that all the oppositions, not to the project but to its alignment, will finally be settled by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in what could be a “win-win” solution.


          We had been trying to reach out to the spokesman of the DPWH XI, our friend and former media colleague Dean Ortiz to ask him about the “approachless” bridge on the creek dividing Catalunan Grande and Tacunan passing by the house of Congressman Pulong Duterte of Davao City’s first district.

     We want to know what is holding the DPWH (or is it the City Engineer’s Office?) from constructing the road approaches to both ends of the bridge. How come if the acquisition of the road right-of-way was not yet acquired the DPWH proceeded with the construction of the concrete span about 15 meters long?

     The project was completed some two years ago, and instead of getting connected to the roads at both ends, tall grasses, soon to become bushes are visible to passers-by.  At this time, both vehicles and pedestrians using the road have to negotiate the 4-meter wide highway and cross the ancient single-lane steel bridge precariously located in a pair of blind curves.

     The bridge without approaches is now morphing into a small white elephant of a project made possible by some supposedly expert planners in the DPWH.



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