The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) recently turned over the newly-constructed Bolikew–kew bridge that would connect farmers to market centers and would serve as a boundary between Barangay Delles and Upper Tumapoc in Burgos, La Union.
DAR Regional Director Homer Tobias said the P40-million bridge is part of DAR’s Agrarian Reform Infrastructure Support Project (ARISP) which builds infrastructures like bridges and farm-to-market roads in rural communities and connect farmers to major business centers.
“The bridge will be a big relief for the people here because the new 183.5-meter Bolikewkew bridge will now be the main thoroughfare for the farmers and residents in the area,” Pangilinan said.
Pangilinan said that more than 5,000 residents will benefit from the bridge including more than 300 farmers living in the area.
“Before the construction of the bridge, travel time from the junction in Poblacion takes an hour to reach the farthest area of Delles, now it would only take 30 minutes including waiting time,” Pangilinan explained.
DAR Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer Raul Laluan said the old Bolikewkew bridge was destroyed at the height of typhoon Pepeng in 2009.
“After the bridge was destroyed, crossing the bridge became very difficult and costly. During rainy season, the river is impassable,” he said.
Laluan said that when the river is low during summer, farmers and residents pay double for the tricycles to bring them from their residence to the edge of the river.
“At the river’s edge they then wade in the shallow river to get to the other side. And then ride another tricycle to going to the market and to other destinations,” he added.
“There is another route going to the market, but it’s farther and more expensive. Farmers had to pay P150 for the tricycle or P35 per head if you choose to ride a passenger jeepney,” said Laluan.