SBMA em­barks on P530-M road re­hab, re­pair pro­gram

Sun.Star Pampanga - - TOPSTORIES! -

SU­BIC BAY FREEPORT – The Su­bic Bay Met­ro­pol­i­tan Author­ity (SBMA) con­tin­ues has em­barked on a mul­ti­mil­lion road re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and re­pair pro­gram.

A P530-mil­lion in­fra­struc­ture pro­gram is on­go­ing to re­pair roads and re­lated fa­cil­i­ties built when Su­bic was still a mil­i­tary base.

SBMA chair­man and ad­min­is­tra­tor Wilma Eisma said sev­eral road re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion projects are ei­ther on­go­ing or in the ini­tial stages of prepa­ra­tion at Fr eep o r t .

Eisma said the Su­bic author­ity re­cently com­pleted the P9.3-mil­lion El Kabayo road re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion pro­ject and has now started the P18-mil­lion Arg­onaut High­way-Ge­orge Dewey Com­plex road and drainage im­prove­ment pro­ject, as well as parts of the P369.7-mil­lion road re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion pack­age.

“More projects will be un­der­way soon, so I ask Su­bic stake­hold­ers, as well as vis­i­tors to the Freeport, to please bear with us the tem­po­rary in­con­ve­nience like traf­fic jams, and a lit­tle noise and dust pol­lu­tion be­cause of the on-go­ing road projects,” the SBMA chair­man said.

“We’re do­ing this to im­prove the core busi­ness in­fra­struc­ture here and to sus­tain the at­trac­tive­ness of the Su­bic Bay Freeport as a glob­ally-com­pet­i­tive trade and tourism cen­ter,” Eisma said.

Ac­cord­ing to the SBMA chair­man, most of the road re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion projects to­day are funded un­der the na­tional gov­ern­ment’s Build-Build-Build pro­gram. This was the first time that a mas­sive road re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion pro­gram is un­der­taken ever since Su­bic be­came a free port zone in 1992, she said.

Eisma said the agency was able to first se­cure from the na­tional gov­ern­ment a P500-mil­lion fund for the Su­bic Bay In­ter­na­tional Air­port (SBIA) re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion pro­gram in 2017 and this was fol­lowed in 2018 by a P530-mil­lion fund for road re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.

As of now, the SBMA Board of Di­rec­tors has ap­proved and awarded two new ma­jor re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion projects: the P76-mil­lion road re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion pro­ject pro­posed in 2016, and the P18-mil­lion drainage im­prove­ment pro­ject along Arg­onaut High­way-Ge­orge Dewey Com­plex.

Mean­while, three other ma­jor projects are now up for bid­ding: Naval Sup­ply De­pot (NSD) Road Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Pro­ject Phase 2, Road Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Pro­ject 2018, and Road Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Pro­ject 2019.

The 2018 road re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion pack­age is bud­geted at P299 mil­lion and will in­clude im­prove­ments at the Malawaan Park park­ing area, road ramp along Dewey Av­enue, as well as re­pair of Wa­ter­front Road, road to the New Con­tainer Ter­mi­nal, Rizal High­way and Mar­i­tan High­way, as well as sev­eral roads in res­i­den­tial ar­eas.

Mean­while, the 2019 road re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion pack­age has a bud­get of P253 mil­lion and will con­sist of re­pairs along main roads like Arg­onaut High­way, San Bernardino Road, roads to Leyte Wharf and Sat­tler Pier duct banks, Rizal High­way, Bo­ton High­way, Binic­ti­can Drive, and the ap­proaches to Kalak­lan Bridge and 14th Street Bridge.

On the other hand, the NSD Road Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Pro­ject Phase 2, with a bud­get of P85 mil­lion, con­sists of re­pairs of roads lead­ing to the NSD Com­pound where most of grain and bulk ship­ments are done. Th­ese ar­eas have been bat­tered by heavy trucks that carry tons of grain ship­ment com­ing from ships.

Eisma said re­pair projects are nec­es­sary be­cause the US Navy-built roads have de­te­ri­o­rated over the years. “When I came back in 2017 as ad­min­is­tra­tor, the first ques­tion that came to my mind was how come it seemed like there has not been any road re­pair in Su­bic, only to find out that there was no bud­get for that be­cause the SBMA doesn’t have any as­sis­tance from the na­tional gov­ern­ment and we had to rely on our in­ter­nal funds,” she said.

“Thus, I had to seek the as­sis­tance of Se­na­tor Richard Gor­don, the first SBMA chair­man, to get some fund­ing for Su­bic in­cluded in the na­tional bud­get,” she said.— Ric Sapnu

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