TUBA, Benguet – The Department of Public Works and Highways–First Benguet District Engineering office (DPWH-FBDEO) still needs approximately P14 million to complete the ongoing repairs of two major bridges along the scenic and historic Kennon road that were damaged by Supertyphoon Ompong in September last year.
DPWH-FBDEO district engineer Ireneo S. Gallato said contractors who won the bid for the implementation of the calamity funds previously earmarked for the repair of the 2 main bridges along the roadline are now working round the clock to complete their programmed works prior to the 90-day contract period.
However, he admitted that in the course of the implementation of the programmed works, DPWH-FBDEO technical personnel and the contractors uncovered some works that were not included in the funding that was earlier released for the calamity projects, thus, the need for the additional funds to complete the full repair of the bridge projects.
“We understand that the initial estimates used to support the request for funds were rashly done and other works discovered later by the contractors that were not part of the programs of work have to be covered by an additional request for the release of the needed funds to complete the projects,” Gallato stressed.
Earlier, the DPWH-FBDEO bidded out the P10 million and P12 million that were earmarked by the public works department for the repair of the Camp 1 and Camp 6 bridges, respectively, for damaged wrought by Supertyphoon Ompong last year.
The repair of the bridge projects were bidded out by the agency on December 10, 2018 while the submitted bids of contractors were opened only last December 27, 2018.
While the bids were undergoing post evaluation, Gallato pointed out the projected winning contractors were compelled to execute risk letters for them to proceed with the implementation of the programmed works on the bridges due to the urgent need to implement the projects in preparation for the possible opening of the roadline to motor vehicles after all the projects along declared critical portions of the roadline that were funded have been completed.
According to him, the projects under the district office were programmed to be completed in 90 days but because contractors were required to work round the clock aside from providing additional manpower, the same could be completed earlier as scheduled.
Gallato explained the agency is seeking the immediate release of the additional funds for each of the projects, 6 million for the Camp 1 bridge and P8 million for the Camp 6 bridge, so that there will be continuity in the prosecution of the projects and not to significantly affect the stability of the bridge structures once motor vehicles will be allowed to pass through the said infrastructures.
He expressed his gratitude to the wining contractors for their willingness to extend utmost assistance in ensuring the completion of the works on the bridges by working on the said projects even without the issued notice of award and notice to proceed considering that they saw the importance of completing the programmed works way ahead of schedule.
Banner photo by: JOSEPH B. MANZANO