The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) longest road mountain tunnel project in Mindanao is on full steam of implementation.
In his report to Secretary Manuel M. Bonoan, Senior Undersecretary Emil K. Sadain, in-charge of the implementation of DPWH infrastructure flagship projects said that tunneling activities for the 2.3-kilometer twin tube bi-lane road mountain tunnel is on the verge of reaching halfway with total length excavated for southbound and northbound direction on both ends of north and south portal at a cumulative distance of about 1-kilometer.
According to Senior Undersecretary Sadain, the tunnel is an important component of the 45.5-kilometer Davao City Bypass Construction Project which is among the infrastructure flagship projects started under the previous administration’s “Build Build Build” program and continue under the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. “Build Better More” development agenda to decongest traffic and reduce travel time.
Senior Undersecretary Sadain, the President Elect of the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers (PICE) for 2024, allowed the PICE National Officers and Board of Directors headed by President April Frances Agatha Flores and Davao City Chapter President Arnel Bernardino to get an exclusive view of the on-going activities for the construction of the road mountain tunnel adopting Japanese technology with a site visit on Saturday, April 1, 2023.
During the inspection, Senior Undersecretary Sadain reviewed the progress of works and commended the project team from DPWH Unified Project Management Office (UPMO) – Roads Management Cluster 1 (Bilateral) and contractor Shimizu-Ulticon-Takenaka for their hard work and contribution towards fast-track construction.
This is the first project site visit by PICE national leaders to this flagship project of the Philippine government after over three (3) years since the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19 greatly affected everyone.
In his briefing, DPWH UPMO Roads Management Cluster 1 (Bilateral) Project Director Benjamin A. Bautista said that the tunnel construction is part of contract package I-1, the first out of six (6) contract packages, which commenced on December 2020.
This on-going contract package I-1 costing ₱13.23 Billion is financed by Special Terms for Economic Partnership (STEP) Loan between Philippines and Japan International Cooperation Agency under loan agreement numbers PH-P261 and PH-P273.
The tunnel will incorporate facilities to ensure the safety of riding public and will be closely monitored by an operation and control center located in the north portal area.
Targetted for completion by December 2024, contract package I-1 also involves the construction of four (4) lanes 3.35 meters width concrete paved road with the total length of 7.90 kilometers, three (3) pairs of bridge with the total length of 500 linear meters, two (2) underpasses, two (2) overpasses, twelve (12) box culvert (waterway), and four (4) at grade road crossings.
The Davao City Bypass Construction Project begins at Brgy. Sirawan, Toril, Davao City and will end at Brgy. J.P. Laurel in Panabo City.
It will improve the transport logistics and mitigate congestions in Davao City with travel time of just 49 minutes from the current 1 hour and 45 minutes via Maharlika Highway, thereby contributing to the economic and sound urban development of the City and the Davao Region.
For the other packages, procurement activities for packages I-2 and I-3 are currently on-going. Package II-1 started last January 2023 while procurement for package II-2 is also on-going and package II-3 is scheduled on the fourth quarter of this year.