QC to DPWH: Fix perilous footbridge
The Quezon City government on Saturday said it would ask the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to remove the power cables that endanger pedestrians on a recently opened footbridge in the busy Philcoa area, a day after the Inquirer reported on the P30-million structure.
Reached for comment, a DPWH official said work was under way to have the cables moved to a safer distance—but claimed that the agency had been requesting the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) to do it “since June.”
The steel footbridge was built a few meters away from an old one made of concrete, which had been declared off limits and set for demolition by the DPWH.
However, the new structure was opened to the public even with a bundle of cables yet to be cleared and literally passing through between the steps.
The hazardous stairway was on Philcoa’s southbound side, near a public market.
Pedestrians could trip on the cables or, worse, get an electric shock should any of the live wires be exposed.
Users have also complained that the footbridge was built too high and that women in skirts would think twice about taking the stairs where the gaps between steps have no cover.
In an interview on Saturday, Elmo San Diego, head of Quezon City’s public order and safety department, said the high-voltage cables should have been removed first before the overhead walkway was opened.
“We will be writing the DPWH for them to do something. It’s their project because it’s located on a national highway,” San Diego said.
The city government had conducted an assessment and concluded that the cables really had to go, he said. “It is really dangerous to have those things where people walk.”
The DPWH could close the footbridge in the meantime until it is cleared of all hazards and also modify the stairs to make them more user-friendly for the elderly or people with disabilities, especially those in wheelchairs, he added.
“The rest (of the structure) is OK. It’s really just the wires because someone may trip on them or get electrocuted,” San Diego said.
DPWH district engineer Roseller Tolentino said his office had already coordinated with Meralco for the removal of the cables. “Actually, we’ve been requesting them to do that since June,” he said.
The spaces between the steps would also be covered for the sake of the women, he added.
As for complaints about the height of the footbridge, “we’re also planning to put up elevators on both ends,” Tolentino said, stressing that the project was only 75-percent complete.