BALANGA CITY, Bataan: The expansion of the four-lane Roman Expressway here into six lanes with a budget estimated from P3.2 to P3.8 billion will affect more than five thousand full grown trees.
To be affected by the widening works are 700 trees in the first district and 4,375 trees in the second district or a total of 5,075 trees, all within the 30-meter right of way of Roman highway.
Katrina Magbual of the second engineering district planning section could not exactly tell the age of the trees except that the diameter of the trunks ranges from 0.2 to 1.5 meters.
A member of the group that made the inventory of the trees said most of the trees are narra, acacia and eucalyptus species that were planted in the 1970s.
The rehabilitation and widening will be done on the 18-kilometer stretch of the expressway in the first district and 39 kilometers in the second district or a total of 57 kilometers from Layac junction in Dinalupihan town to the mouth of the zigzag road in Mariveles.
Roman Expressway spans the western portions of Hermosa, Orani, Samal, Abucay, Balanga City, Pilar, Orion and Limay. Another road, the MacArthur Highway, serves the eastern and populated areas.
Engineer Erlindo Flores Jr. of the first engineering district, said they were informed by Gov. Albert Garcia that the target date for the implementation of the mega project is within two years.
Flores said the first district has submitted a budget of P900 million to implement the project while the second engineering district has requested for P2.9 billion.
He added that both sides of the expressway will have drainage and shoulder road.
“In our P2.9 billion budget, road widening, construction of unloading zones and pedestrian overpasses and payment of right of way structures are included. For road widening, it is only P2 billion and bridges at P420 million or a total of P2.4 billion,” Magbual said.
Passing through the expressway are light and heavy vehicles that include passenger buses and mini-buses, heavily-loaded 16-wheeler trucks and dump trucks and tankers loaded with fuel oil and liquefied petroleum gas.