The Philippine Star

DPWH to sub­mit 2 projects for NEDA ap­proval this year

- By RICH­MOND MER­CU­RIO Philippines Department of Public Works and Highways · California Department of Transportation · National Economic and Development Authority · Quezon · Iceland · Japan International Cooperation Agency · Japan · Mandaue · Mandaue City · Asian Development Bank

The Depart­ment of Pub­lic Works and High­ways (DPWH) is eye­ing to sub­mit to the Na­tional Eco­nomic and Devel­op­ment Au­thor­ity (NEDA) be­fore the year ends fea­si­bil­ity stud­ies for two pri­or­ity projects, namely the Que­zon-Bi­col Ex­press­way (QBEx) and a fourth bridge that would link Mac­tan Is­land to main­land Cebu.

Pub­lic Works and High­ways Sec­re­tary Mark Vil­lar said the fea­si­bil­ity study for the QBEx is now be­ing fi­nal­ized and may be com­pleted this month or early next month.

Once fin­ished, the fea­si­bil­ity study would im­me­di­ately be sub­mit­ted to NEDA for fur­ther eval­u­a­tion, he said.

The fea­si­bilty study for the fourth bridge in Cebu, which is be­ing un­der­taken by the Ja­pan In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion Agency (JICA), may also be com­pleted next month.

“Those are the two ma­jor projects that we are tar­get­ing to sub­mit to NEDA within the year,” he said.

Vil­lar de­clined to dis­close fur­ther de­tails of the two projects such as costs and align­ments so as not to pre­empt the re­sults of the on­go­ing stud­ies.

The QBEx, how­ever, would likely span 160 to 180 kilo­me­ters ini­tially, ac­cord­ing to the DPWH chief.

The po­ten­tial fourth bridge in Cebu, mean­while, is ex­pected to ad­dress the in­creas­ing traf­fic vol­ume be­tween main­land Cebu and Mac­tan given Cebu’s ex­pand­ing in­dus­tries.

A third toll bridge, the Cebu-Cor­dova Link Ex­press­way, is cur­rently be­ing con­structed, while two bridges al­ready link Mac­tan to Man­daue City in the main­land.

Vil­lar ear­lier said the gov­ern­ment in­tends to iden­tify po­ten­tial big-ticket and highly im­pact­ful in­fra­struc­ture projects that would cre­ate a pipe­line that will last even be­yond the term of Pres­i­dent Duterte.

To do so, the DPWH plans to tap an In­fra­struc­ture Prepa­ra­tion and In­no­va­tion Fa­cil­ity from the Asian Devel­op­ment Bank to fi­nance fea­si­bil­ity stud­ies for new in­fra­struc­ture projects.

“That’s $100 mil­lion to do fea­si­bil­ity stud­ies that are worth tens of bil­lions of pe­sos. This will give us a pipe­line of ready to im­ple­ment projects. So at least, even af­ter the term of this ad­min­is­tra­tion, we will still have a lot of projects,” Vil­lar said.

Ac­cord­ing to Vil­lar, fea­si­bil­ity stud­ies are the most dif­fi­cult part in any big ticket pro­ject be­cause they take an av­er­age of one year and cost mil­lions of dol­lars.

“So once you have a full­blown fea­si­bil­ity study, im­ple­men­ta­tion will be much eas­ier,” Vil­lar said.

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