A 41-kilometer road opening project traversing mountain ranges of Antique and Iloilo is expected to open more growth areas and agri-tourism potentials in Panay island.
Funding for the Panay East-West Lateral Road project is sourced from the regular infrastructure project of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), which oversees its implementation.
The road openings along the Bugasong-Valderrama road section in Antique and Lambunao-Inca road section in Iloilo was opened with an initial budget of P760 million from the fiscal year 2017. Another P295 million was added from the fiscal year 2018.
“That’s almost 41 kilometers of new road opening. Maybe we have already achieved around one-fourth of the road project,” said engineer Al Fruto, DPWH-6 assistant regional Director, in an interview on Friday, April 12.
Fruto said that since it’s a road opening, each kilometer needs around P60 to P70 million. Funding for the completion of the project could reach up to P2.6 billion.
“It’s supposed to be a five-year plan that we connect the two sides. There are sections, however, that need a bigger space for improvement,” he added.
Once it is completed, the project will “bisect Panay laterally or horizontally based on the map,” he said.
The connection will be from Antique to central and northern Iloilo and Capiz, although the project will just be between Lambunao, Iloilo and Valderama, Antique traversing mountain ranges.
“It’s a long-awaited project that was realized through various interventions. Way back 1987 when I joined DPWH, there was already a pre-feasibility study for the project,” he said.
Meantime, amid being situated in mountainous areas, they haven’t encountered security issues although they are always on the lookout for advisories or any announcement, he said.
The challenge for the project is the heavy rains because they are doing excavation and cut and fill, he added.
To address the concern means appropriating funds that are just enough to complete the given cycle of a project.
The 41-kilometer road project is 20 meters wide. It also has bridges and slope protection.
Of the total length, 28 kilometers will come from the Valderrama section while 13 kilometers will come from the Lambunao road section.PNA