MANILA, Philippines – It will take weeks to repair the collapsed part of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx), said project manager Engr. Joshua Bingcang in an interview with Radyo Inquirer 990AM.
Bingcang said they will have to wait for the weather to clear, as well as the water and lahar to subside, before proceeding with their full technical assessment of the damage and the needed remedial repair of the highway.
In the meantime, motorists are advised to take alternative routes, redirecting those coming from Mabalacat, Pampanga and Tarlac to exit Clark and re-enter Porac toll plaza and those coming from Tipo to exit Porac and re-enter Clark South.
On Tuesday afternoon, a Twitter user posted a photo of the SCTEx showing a large crack just before the Pasig-Potrero bridge.
Collapse caused by nearby landslides
Bingcang said nearby landslides and the overwhelming flow of water from the Pasig-Potrero river caused a portion of the expressway to collapse.
He said they had earlier monitored the erosion of adjacent farmlands which in turn disrupted the natural flow of water in the area, forcing the water to flow towards the SCTEx embankment.
“That [portion] was saturated, soaked by water and eroded until the embankment supporting [the expressway’s] pavement was gone,” Bingcang said.
The project manager said they have been closely monitoring the 94-kilometer stretch of highway since the southwest monsoon and tropical storm “Maring” brought torrential rains and floods in Luzon.
He said as soon as they saw small cracks, they closed off the area from motorists to prevent untoward incidents.
Bingcang said just before the storm, they had finished constructing protective barriers near the eroded portion to redirect water towards the river. However, he said with the erosion of nearby properties, the water shifted and hit the embankment.
He assured the public that in addition to remedial repairs they will also look into long-term solutions to ensure the stability of the highway.