Iloilo’s ‘sinking flyover’ to remain closed, says DPWH secretary
ILOILO CITY — Public Works and Highways Secretary Manual Bonoan was not recommending reopening the newly built flyover in this city to ensure public safety.
He told reporters on Friday that the Ungka Flyover looked unsafe, even as an investigation was ongoing to determine the cause of the “vertical displacement” or sinking of a newly built P680-million four-lane flyover in this city.
Bonoan, who went to Iloilo to see the state of the flyover, admitted some problems needed solutions before reopening it to vehicular traffic.
“It’s still early to say whether or not we should let [vehicles] pass, because we noticed that there were still tests that needed to be made before I could make a decision,” he told reporters.
Bonoan said they were assessing what needed to be done to rehabilitate the flyover that was intended to cut travel time to the Iloilo International Airport in Cabatuan town by 20 minutes.
“We are still trying to find out the [results of the] geotechnical investigations so that immediately, we can find a way to rectify what needs to be done so that our vehicles can pass through safely,” he said.
“Probing tests are needed underneath [the flyover] because we’ve seen displacements where other sections have been sinking, so in that case, there seems to be something wrong, that is why we are trying to find out the exact cause of the sinking,” he added.
Asked when the results of their investigations would come out, Bonoan said “in a few weeks” but declined to provide a specific date, citing the need to confer with the department’s Bureau of Design to chart out a timeline for additional works.
Meantime, he said he would not recommend the reopening of the flyover “because we conducted a controlled traffic loading test to see the behavior of the structure, [and] initially, we are still sensing [displacements] so I would not immediately recommend anything to open to the general public.”
“We don’t exactly know the structural interventions that we still need to do. We have to go back and find out the quickest things we can do. One thing we noticed is that there are only several segments that need to be fixed,” he added.
Bonoan also assured the public that the road below the flyover was safe.
City Mayor Jerry Treñas welcomed Bonoan’s pronouncements but said the department needed to clarify its position on the interventions the department would apply as well as the project timeline.
“What I’m asking for from the DPWH is that they come up with a definite stand [as to] what should be done with the flyover. What is very important for us is that we be able to do the two underneath and finish that as soon as possible. People will be inconvenienced if those disappear as well,” Treñas said during the opening of the Museum of Philippine Maritime History in Iloilo City on Friday.
The DPWH central office has hired a third-party consulting firm to assess and investigate the situation of the Ungka Flyover which straddles Pavia town and Iloilo City.
The 453.7-meter flyover was partially opened to the public on June 30 last year. Three months later, on Sept. 6, 2022, the structure was fully opened to commuters.
But on Sept. 18, the DPWH closed the flyover after motorists complained about the “wavy feel” while driving over it, and amid reports and images of pools of water at the top of the flyover during rainy days.