By Betheena Kae Unite
An anti-storm surge project dubbed as the “Great Wall of Leyte” is seen to be completed in 2020 despite numerous challenges, Public Works and Highways Chief Mark Villar said.
Villar on Wednesday conducted an inspection on the two ongoing “high-impact projects” in Eastern Visayas namely the Heightened Road and Tide Embankment (HRTE) or the “Great Wall of Leyte” and the Tacloban By-Pass Road project.
“We have many projects and we want to fast-track all of them especially projects like the tide embankment and the bypass road, these are projects which will immensely help the people of Tacloban and nearby provinces,” Villar said noting that he is confident the projects will be finished according to schedule amid challenges on the pre-implementation process.
The tide embankment project aims to protect 30,800 houses and establishments of Yolanda-affected areas in Tacloban–Palo-Tanauan from future similar storm surges and to prevent casualties.
The embankment project covers the 27.3-kilometer stretches from Diit village in Tacloban to Cabuynan village in Tanauan town. Sections 1 to 3 are in Tacloban, section 4 covers the coastal villages of Tacloban and Palo, section 5 covers some areas in Palo and Tanauan, and section 6 in Tanauan town.
The four-meter-high structure will serve as a shield of coastal communities against big waves.
It was mulled by the previous administration after the 2013 super typhoon Yolanda’s storm surges wiped out neighborhoods in Leyte province. The project started in 2016.
The bypass road project, on the other hand, is expected to be completed on August 6, 2019.
The P924-million Tacloban By-Pass Road aims to decongest the traffic along Maharlika Highway, Tacloban City going to Palo, Leyte. Once completed, it is seen to reduce travel time from 1 ½ hours to 30 minutes.
“These projects are part of the Build, Build, Build program of the administration and we promise to deliver these projects on time,” Villar reiterated.
Further, the P90-million widened Tigbao Bridge, which was recently completed, has been inaugurated by the Secretary and other officials Wednesday.
It will link Daniel Romualdez Airport to other designated tourism destinations in the region. It will also serve as a link to the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center, the region’s tertiary hospital and to the National Maritime Polytechnic, the premier training center for sea farers of the country.
Tigbao Bridge is also linked to Tacloban City By-Pass Road which is designed to decongest traffic along the Maharlika Highway and connect to the Babatngon International Seaport in the future. Travel time to the city proper is reduced from 45 minutes to 15-20 minutes.
“Tacloban City is one of our priorities in terms of boosting infrastructure development and building disaster resilient communities. We want to improve the road network to decongest the traffic and also make sure that we are ready for any calamities that we may encounter,” Villar said.
Undersecretary Roberto Bernardo, Regional Director Edgar Tabacon, Assistant Regional Director Eric Ayapana, directors and other key officials of DPWH Region VIII were present during the event.