By PETE LAUDE
The Philippine Star
Barely six months after the Tullahan Bridge was opened to vehicular traffic, the asphalt on the approaches to the bridge has eroded and motorists are blaming this for the heavy buildup of traffic along MacArthur Highway.
A Metro Manila Development Authority traffic enforcer, manning traffic on Tullahan Bridge, told The STAR that while some motorists blamed the MMDA for the traffic buildup in the area, the actual culprit is the 15-meter stretch of exposed gravel that forces a motorist to slow down before reaching the bridge itself.
The traffic enforcer, who requested anonymity, said the MMDA is one of the agencies tasked to supervise the construction of the bridge.
"Compounding the problem are the deep potholes which forced even trucks and buses to slow down plus the road diggings of Maynilad (Water Services Inc.)," he said.
Maynilad is set to complete its repair work by June 25, according to a billboard posted near the diggings.
Both approaches to the Tullahan Bridge, which sits at the boundary of Malabon and Valenzuela cities, have unpaved portions but the Malabon approach has fared worse compared to its Valenzuela counterpart.
"Repairs were done but after three days the asphalt laid again disintegrated. If not acted upon immediately, it could cause more problems especially because of the opening of classes next week," the traffic enforcer said.
Valenzuela City public information officer Marither Menia said Mayor Sherwin Gatchalian decided to repair the damaged areas on their side of the bridge. "It only shows that the construction was not done right," Menia said.
The completion of the Tullahan Bridge was deferred several times due to technical problems and alleged anomalies. It was opened to the public last November.
Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr., chairman of the Senate committee on public works and highways, lambasted the Department of Public Works and Highways, the lead government agency in the Tullahan Bridge project, for the delays and alleged anomalies in its construction. Revilla also wanted the contractor, R.C. Ramos Construction, blacklisted.
Valenzuela City Rep. Rex Gatchalian also blamed R.C. Ramos Construction for failing to efficiently undertake the project.
The delays inconvenienced commuters and motorists for months, and the Valenzuela city government said the delays had negative effects on its economy.
Tullahan Bridge is one of major links connecting Metro Manila to Northern Luzon.