Government expects to boost tourism the northern part of Ilocos region, known for its world-class beaches, after the Department of Public Works and Highways is set to complete the restoration of Patapat Viaduct during the month.
DPWH Secretary Hermogenes E. Ebdane Jr. said in a statement that the restoration work on the P 219.1 million viaduct--the term used for bridges near coastal areas--would allow easier travel time of passengers going Pagudpud, a place known for its pristine beaches, and other places such as Bangui Windmills, Malacanang of The North and Cape Bojeador Lighthouse.
On the other hand, Patapat Viaduct is an important transport link connecting the major road networks of Ilocos Norte and Cagayan Valley Region. Most of the cargoes brought in from Manila are construction materials like cement, while the northernmost region of the Philippines supplies the country's capital some of the vital goods such as rice, coconuts, and other agricultural produce..
"Per order of Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. to complete the viaduct on schedule, we have asked our men to work round the clock but without sacrificing quality work,'' said DPWH Undersecretary Romeo Momo, who is in charge of the Luzon operations.
Ebdane had ordered to strictly monitor the restoration of the 1.128-kilometer stretch of reinforced concrete structure viaduct which comprises of 76 spans that runs along the seashore beneath the steep slopes of the Patapat Mountains in Pagudpod, Ilocos Norte; and forms part of the Laoag-Allacapan Road Section.
Vic Perez, director of the Philippine Japan Highway Loan-Project Management Office which is implementing the project, said the viaduct had been known to be dangerous for motorists since it is located near rugged mountain cliffs.
Momo agrees, adding: "Patapat Viaduct has undergone series of damages paralyzing the tourism industry in the North. Landslides and rockslides always destroy the road often with human casualties."
Patapat Viaduct, a concrete coastal bridge that connects the Maharlika Highway from Laoag, Ilocos Norte to the Cagayan Valley Region, is known as the fourth longest bridge in the Philippines.
Funding for the project, which is included in the 9th Yen Loan Package, are provided for by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation.
Ceferino Londina, project manager of the viaduct's contractor JH Pajara Construction, said it is reinforced with concrete seawall, concrete blocks and other related structures for pier foundation to withstand against perennial problem of sea wave action.
"The catch wall structures have also undergone improvement to protect the viaduct from any landslides or rockslides," Almario Monton, project engineer of the Philippine Japan Highway Loan-Project Management Office said.
Monton, representing the PJHL-PMO which is implementing the project, said the viaduct had been known to be dangerous for motorists since it is located near rugged mountain cliffs."People would now fully appreciate the major highway's safety."