Ilonggo Senator Franklin M. Drilon, assisted by city mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, Congressman Jerry P. Treñas and vice mayor Jose Espinosa III, leads in the launching and groundbreaking here of the P300 million Phase I widening and improvement of Benigno S. Aquino Avenue, popularly known as the Iloilo diversion road on Thursday, February 28, 2013.
The four lanes road artery is the main gateway from the city proper going to the Iloilo Airport in Cabatuan, Iloilo that needs expansion and enhancement into six lanes main road, two service roads of two lanes each and another two lanes for walkways, bicycle lanes and planting strips.
Phase I of the project is assured of funding from the General Appropriations Act of the Department of Public Works and Highways and from senator’s priority development assistance fund (PDAF).
Drilon warned the contractors to finish all the projects in Iloilo before 2016 as there are enough funds for these projects. He said he will be hard on contractors who failed to deliver the projects on time as the people and the local media are authorized to observe and report the project status.
Designed by international architect Paolo Alcazaren, the one who also designed the Esplanade I riverbank project here, the road project will be composed of road widening, sidewalk, planting strip, bike lane, planting strip, sidewalk, service road, planting strip and sidewalk with a reserved area for future drainage system,
Drilon said the Phase I project will run for almost three kilometers starting from the Gen. Luna in the city proper until the junction of El 98 in Jaro district with road expansion of 20 meters in the left side and 40 meters in the right side of the existing road.
The road project will be constructed by Cebu-based contractor Geo Transport and Construction Inc. to have three pedestrian overpasses that will pass over the highway near the Esplanade I area, the second near the Tabucan-San Rafael road and the third at junction El 98 in addition to the existing one fronting the SM City area.
Phase I project will also add to the attraction of the Iloilo Convention Center at the old Iloilo airport area as an appropriate site to host the Asia Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) ministerial meeting in 2015. Asia’s heads of states and leaders meeting will be held in Manila but the ministers of finance, tourism and others will have to come to Iloilo, the senator said.
Detailed engineering plan is now being prepared for Phase II to start from El 98 street junction up to the Iloilo City-Pavia boundary with a timeline to finish before the term of President Benigno Aquino III expires in 2016.
DPWH Reg. Dir. Edilberto Tayao said his department is committed to finish the whole stretch of the road project to change the face of Iloilo City by 2015. By Lydia Pendon