By Jani Arnaiz
September 21, 2011
MAASIN CITY – Work has started on a P55 million ten kilometer asphalt overlay project along the Maharlika highway between Libagon and Liloan towns en route to Mindanao, the same stretch where more than P40 million asphalt overlay was scraped after only three years of use.
Based on the estimate from Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) national office, the new asphalting of the ten kilometer stretch amounted to P149 million, says Engineer Carlos Veloso, head of the Southern Leyte Engineering District (Sled), in an interview.
The highly overpriced project was, however, corrected and reduced to only P55 million on the reported timely opposition of the Sled district engineer. Engr. Carlos Veloso
Veloso, said that when they were informed that P149 million has been programmed for the ten kilometer stretch, they lobbied with the national office telling them the correct estimate and suggested to realign the extra amount to rehabilitate around 50 kilometers of road along the Maharlika national highway.
Veloso, though, was mum over the overprice estimate of the new project. “How they came out with that estimate, I really didn’t know,” said Veloso.
Maharlika national highway is a major route in Southern Leyte area in going to and from Luzon and Mindanao.
“I lobbied with Assistant Secretary Dimas Soguilon, operations head for Visayas, and told him that the amount was too much for a ten kilometer asphalt overlay and recommended that it should instead be reblocked (concreting only damaged portion) because of the wet condition of the area,” Veloso told Inquirer.
He said the realignment was approved although they (national office) insisted to have asphalt overlay on the same stretch.
Veloso said he reasoned out that intermittent rains always occur in the area and because of its terrain water sipped in causing it to be wet which is not conducive to asphalt material. He added that a good drainage system s
hould be constructed if it would be overlaid with asphalt to prevent water to sip in. He disclosed that Soguilon scolded him for insisting to have the area reblocked.
The district engineer also asked Soguillon that they be given
a hand on the implementation of the project saying that they were blamed on the anomalous nature of the previous project, which the DPWH regional office had implemented.
Manolo Rojas, OIC assistant engineer, said asphalt overlay prevents the wear and tear of a concreted road but the recommended thickness of the asphalt should be applied.
Rojas admitted that the scraped asphalt overly was only two-inch thick which substandard when applied to a national highway where vehicles of different sizes pass through. He said the regular thickness is four inches.
“In only two years the overlaid asphalt already looked liked it has seen for many years. Potholes are all over the stretch,” said Veloso of the previous a sphalting.
He explained that asphalt is easily damaged when water sipped in and that asphalting should only be done during good weather, right mixture and temperature.