DPWH Tigaon’s band-aid solution to ‘killer highway’

Despite of DPWH order Friday, May 12, to scrape by a grader the asphalt overly on the Ocine road, a thin layer of asphalt still remains, and according to knowledgeable persons, such thin layer of asphalt when wet and slippery can send a cargo truck plummeting into a collision course. PHOTO BY JOEY NATIVIDAD

By Joey Natividad

TIGAON, Camarines Sur (BicolToday.com) – Hoping to save lives in this town’s infamous “killer highway”, DPWH Tigaon ordered its crew to scrape out the asphalt overlay in Sitio Ocine, Panagan, which has been blamed by motorists as the cause of accidents since February this year.

More than 60 accidents have been reported, starting February 2017 until second week of May. In March alone, about 30 accidents were reported.

Many got injured and hundreds of thousands of pesos worth of damages to cars, buses, trucks, and motorcycles, and costly hospitalization among the injured.

“Killer highway”

Not included among these early 2017 accidents was the “carambola” accident on All Soul’s Day, 2015 when an entire family was killed, except for two survivors who recovered from injuries. (Read news article: Overtaking truck in ‘carambola’ All Soul’s Day accident kills 3, injures 6, in Tigaon, CamSur ).

Grief, losses, and sorrow among the families of the dead victims cannot be quantified.

On May 11 and 12, about 20 accidents had occurred, one incident involving a DLTB passenger bus from Manila which skidded along the slippery road, the accident also triggered several other motorcycles skidding in succession. A day before, several vehicles also figured in
freak accidents.

Police investigators blamed the slippery asphalted road for the high volume of accidents that started on February, this year.

Last February 27, Department of Publics Works and Highways (DPWH) 3rd engineering district in Tigaon, under district Engr. Gemma Timbang just finished pouring asphalt overlay on the curve road portion along Sitio Ocine, Panagan, this town.

The asphalt overlay was thin, lacking aggregates and the workmen that day left a thick layer of sand over the newly-placed asphalt overlay.

A few hours later, a Florencia passenger bus plying the Naga City-Lagonoy route skidded along the asphalted road and almost fell over the Ocine bridge. (Read news article: Florencia passenger bus crashes into Tigaon bridge railings, many injured ).

A red tricycle passes by a DPWH signage saying it all: DRIVE SLOW, MANY DIED HERE (dahan-dahan, be careful in driving, marami namatay dito). PHOTO BY JOEY NATIVIDAD

Since that day, DPWH men did not do any remedial measures and blamed the bus driver for careless driving. This was the line of reasoning that was picked up and dished out by media.

The tale did not end there. Several more accidents had occurred, mostly during nighttime when the asphalted road became slippery during rainy days.

According to Tigaon councllor Carlos Pilapil, LGU-Tigaon had acted promptly by summoning DPWH officials whose office is about a kilometer away, to address the series of accidents.

Band-aid solutions

When pressed, DPWH officials promised to do something. After the meeting, DPWH repainted road railings erected along the Ocine bridge curve, erected warning signs but are not visible during nighttime owing to lack of reflectorized paint.

DPWH also added a layer of aggregates to the asphalt overlay and have these ran over by a heavy road roller (“pison”) in the hope of rendering the asphalt road “non-slippery.”

Despite DPWH band-aid solutions, the accidents continue.

On second week of March , a Raymond bus from Manila rammed a tree along the Ocine bridge curve, aside from reports of motorcycles and cars skidding on the slippery road.

On Friday and Saturday May 12 and 13 , in response to public outcry over the past weeks, DPWH district engineer Timbang sent a grader to scrape the thin asphalt overlay.

2-inch thick asphalt overlay

DPWH warning sign painted on plastic canvass. not on colored metal sheet and without any reflectorized paint, part of “band-aid” solution to address the road accidents. PHOTO BY JOEY NATIVIDAD

An Ocine resident told Bicol Today when the writer visited the site on Saturday afternoon, May 13, that there are still layers of asphalt not scraped entirely by the grader.

According to the resident, the thin layer of asphalt when wet can still send a cargo truck crashing, colliding other vehicles, or plummeting into houses.

According to Ocine residents when interviewed, DPWH was into “cost-savings” when it avoided applying aggregates during the asphalt overlay.

“DPWH was saving on costs, and did not apply aggregates during asphalt overlay and poured in pure asphalt in thin layer of about 2 inches. (Nagtipid husto ang DPWH, ayaw gumamit ng graba, puro asphalto binuhos na manipis na duwa pulgada ang kapal)”, the resident told Bicol Today .

According to international standards, asphalt overlay must be about 4 inches thick or more, but DPWH Tigaon applied its own version of 2-inch thickness.

Final band-aid: “Genuine, thick asphalt overlay”

A DPWH insider said the agency is planning to apply the standard asphalt overlay of about 4 inches thick, a project still under the planning, proposal stage.

Among motorists, this latest DPWH project may put an end to further waste of lives and damages to vehicles along the Ocine bridge section.

Such “genuine” asphalt overlay might be long-lasting, preventing accidents, but it may be loss of “illegal” revenues to corrupt DPWH officials who make money out from yearly low-quality asphalt overlay and maintenance projects. [BicolToday.com]

A Raymond passenger bus on second week of March 2017 crashes into a tree along the killer highway in Ocine, Barangay Panagan, Tigaon, Camarines Sur. PHOTO BY SENEN LAYNESA / BICOLTODAY.COM

Posted by on May 18, 2017. Filed under Bicol News,Headlines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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