A new milestone was reached by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in the Davao City Bypass Construction Project with excavation works for the 2.3-kilometer twin-tube road mountain tunnel now conducted at four (4) areas of its north and south portals.
DPWH Undersecretary and Build Build Build Chief Implementer, Emil Sadain, together with Embassy of Japan in the Philippines Economic Affairs Minister, Masahiro Nakata, and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Chief Representative, Takema Sakamoto, recently led the ceremonial kick-off of excavation activities for the south portal tunnel southbound direction.
Undersecretary Sadain, in charge of Unified Project Management Office (UPMO) Operations, explained that the road tunnel construction works using cutting-edge equipment and technologies were earlier started at the north portal on November 19, 2021, while the southbound excavation activities from the opposite end at the south portal commenced last May 12, 2022.
The simultaneous tunnel portal construction activities on both ends will fast-track the completion of the soon-to-be first-ever long-distance road mountain tunnel in the Philippines, added Sadain.
Based on the report of Sadain to DPWH Acting Secretary, Roger Mercado, the construction of the road tunnel at the north portal reached 202 meters, while the south portal had already reached 91 meters. The construction of the road tunnel involves excavation of tunnel portal areas using the Austrian Tunneling Method, mucking or removal of soil from tunnel interior, initial shotcrete to protect from risk of fall materials and to prevent loosening during shotcrete application, steel ribs installation to provide effective structural protection, second shotcrete with wire mesh to secure stability, and rock bolt installation to provide bearing force and become a part of tunnel support system.
The 45.5-kilometer Davao City Bypass Construction Project is divided into six (6) contract packages (CP) with the ongoing CP 1-1 covering 10.7 kilometers of 4-lane highway and 18.9 kilometers CP 1-2 and CP 1-3 under procurement stage financed by Official Development Assistance (ODA) from JICA thru the Special Terms for Economic Partnership (STEP) Loan Agreement Nos. PH-P261 and PH-P273. While for funding by the Government of the Philippines are CP 2-1, CP 2-2, and CP 2-3 with a total length of 15.9 kilometers.
The opening of new road networks through the Davao City Bypass Construction Project is expected to usher in more development opportunities as it will greatly improve Davao City's accessibility and traffic conditions.
“On behalf of DPWH, I would like to thank our long-time infrastructure development partner the Government of Japan thru JICA for the unrelenting assistance especially for all the projects under the “Build Build Build” Program that will benefit every Filipino in our quest to elevate their living condition through infrastructure development and economic growth”, said Sadain.
Other than the tunnel, CP 1-1 awarded to Shimizu – Ulticon - Takenaka joint venture involves the construction of a four (4)-lane road with a length of 7.9 kilometers; three (3) pairs of bridges with a total length of 500 meters including the Davao River Bridge; two (2) underpasses and two (2) overpasses; 12 waterways culverts; and four (4) at-grade intersection.
Starting from Davao-Digos section of the Pan-Philippine Highway in Brgy Sirawan, Davao City going to Davao-Panabo section of the Pan-Philippine Highway in Brgy J.P. Laurel, Panabo City, the project is expected to ease traffic situations along the areas. The completion of the entire bypass road project will cut travel time to just 49 minutes from the usual 1 hour and 44 minutes.