Sunday, 28 July 2013

Delayed bridge project completion draws support, flaks

Structure of the bridge in a picture taken last April ... prolonged construction period has become a hot issue.


THE prolonged construction period of a vital bridge in Parang, Mambulao, CamNorte, has continued to draw hostile and friendly comments from local Mambulaoans and those overseas.

This could be skimmed on the Facebook account postings by members of the Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte Group who are monitoring the progress of the bridge project.

While some messages showed impatience over the alleged delay in the work, others have vigorously supported the way the project was being handled by the local government.

Supporters said the whole process – from project planning and funding – has been transparent and that they are happy that such an infrastructure is being put up for the good of the community.

On the other hand, others who had knowledge on how this kind of project is handled criticized the pace the project is moving, one reason the targeted completion date was missed.

The old bridge was closed to traffic on February 19 and actual construction work began at the end of April after the old structure had been demolished and the work site cleared of debris.

Reacting to the criticisms sometime last June, the local government said the project is closely being monitored.

The bridge costs at least P22 million, of which P20 million came from the bridge program of the President covering the major bridge parts, with the rest from the LGU as a counter fund to pay for the cost of demolition of the old structure and clearing.

Contractor NFH Construction and Supply has been engaged to put up the bridge abutment.

NFH work timetable was earlier upset when one of its cranes to lift heavy bridge parts failed to come to the worksite as scheduled.

A source familiar with the project posted on the same Facebook site to clarify that the P20 million funding could never be used on items outside the bridge project.

There had been Facebook postings insinuating that the funds for the bridge were “misused” but this was dismissed by the source, saying that “everything was above board”.

Vice-Mayor Ariel Non, in his June 20 postings, said it would take 130 days for the bridge to be completed from the time the worksite had been cleared of debris from the old structure.

Counting from the time work equipment was supposed to begin erecting the heavy concrete piles at the start of last May, the work should be finished before this month is over.

With the bridge closure, commuters from Parang bound for Mambulao poblacion take the long route in tricycle via the Larap road and through Baranggay Plaridel, which sits on the other side of the mangrove river opposite Baranggay Parang.

Tricycle operators would normally charge a passenger P10 one way, although there have been complaints that they are also charging at least P20 for each passenger.

The basic fare is P7 from Parang to the poblacion and vice versa.

Padilla apologized for the delay in the bridge’s completion and appealed for understanding from the community.

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