Agas-Agas Bridge in Brgy. Kahupian, Sogod, Southern Leyte is the tallest bridge in the Philippines.
The Agas-Agas Bridge in Barangay. Kahupian, Sogod, Southern Leyte is the tallest bridge in the Philippines.

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte, –- The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Southern Leyte District Engineering Office (DPWH-SLDEO) has completed the Php67-million project designed to protect the foundation of Agas-Agas bridge, the country’s tallest.

The second and third phase of the project, which costs Php47 million and Php11 million, respectively is now complete. The bridge is located in Sogod town.

The first phase (Php9 million) was completed January this year while the second phase was finished October 16. The contractor completed the third phase (costing Php11 million) last week.

The project includes the installation of gabions and stone masonry near the bridge foundation, which will serve as scour protection during rainy days.

Gabions are cubes consisting of double twisted wire mesh container of variable sizes, uniformly partitioned into internal cells, interconnected with other similar units, and filled with stones to form flexible, permeable, monolithic structures.

“We have to define waterways to control flow of water from the mountains that caused erosions,” said District Engineer Ma. Margarita Junia.

Timber poaching contributed to the abnormal flow of water under the 311 feet high bridge, according to DPWH.

“If we will not protect the foundations, the bridge will eventually collapse,” Junia said.

The field office is also pushing for additional works to further define waterways. Engineers have yet to come up with project cost estimates.

The 350-meter long bridge, inaugurated in 2009, was seen as a permanent solution to landslide and rockslides in the area, resulting in stranding of vehicles.

The Php1.024 billion bridge was funded through a loan under the Japan International Cooperation Agency – Official Development Assistance. The loan also funded more than a kilometer road concreting approaching the bridge, road slips, and drainage system.

The structure is a mix of steel and concrete materials supported by two long piers from the ground. The bridge area has a view deck, rest area, bituminous concrete surface course and bridge electrical provision.

In the past years, the bridge only got Php350,000 annual budget for maintenance, but for 2015, the DPWH-SLDEO has secured Php4-million special funds for the same purpose. (PR)