DPWH orders repair of Albay detour bridge

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LEGAZPI CITY: The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has ordered the immediate repair of a bailey detour bridge which recently collapsed in Camalig, Albay.

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Albay Gov. Joey Salceda alerted the DPWH to fix the bridge which fell on Monday after two trucks loaded with cement reportedly crossed it.

The 20-meter bridge at Barangay Bascaran between the towns of Camalig and Guinobatan has a load capacity of 15 tons and the weight of the two trucks must have caused the bridge’s string to bend.

No one was hurt in the incident but a DPWH engineer who spoke on condition that his name be withheld said a fatal that highway tragedy could have happened had the passenger bus closely trailing the two cement trucks stepped on the bridge.

The DPWH engineer said the original plan was to build a two-lane detour bridge to allow free flow of vehicles at the  busy Maharlika national highway route. But for a still unknown reason, the Albay Second District Engineering allowed only the construction of a single-lane bridge which resulted to traffic congestion in the area for the past seven months.

Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson reportedly asked Albay Second District Engr. Elena Menez to explain the bridge collapse.

Menez cannot be contacted for comment same with her information officer Don Asejo who would not answer calls and text messages.

The Bascaran detour bridge was built in lieu of the 24-meter Bascaran Bridge under contract with Hi-Tone Construction and Development Corp., which is among the Top 10 contractors favored by DPWH during the Arroyo administration, according to its data base.

The Bascaran Bridge project has a contract worth P28,347,806.95 to be completed in 210 calendar days ending in October.

Former DPWH executive Romeo Esplana lashed at the neglect if not corruption that caused the construction of a poorly built detour bridge.

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