New highway between Albay and Camarines Sur opens

LEGAZPI CITY--The Depa rtment of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has completed the construction of the 34.7-kilometer road network that opens an alternative highway between Albay and Camarines Sur.

The construction is composed of concreting and establishment of line canals covering the 34.7 kilometer section that starts at Barangay Hawanan, Ocampo, Camarines Sur and cuts through barangays Burokbusoc and Sagrada of Buhi town of the same province down to the municipality of Malinao, Albay.

DPWH assistant regional director for new national highway cuts across the second and fourth congressional districts of Camarines Sur and links the area with the first district of Albay.

Albay’s first congressional district located at the northeastern section of the province is composed of the municipalities of the rice producing town of Malinao, the geothermal municipality of Tiwi, the port City of Tabaco and resort towns of Malilipot, Bacacay and Sto. Domingo.

More importantly, Cristobal said the new road provides an alternative route between the Maharlika Highway and Tabaco International Seaport that also serves as the main jumping point between the Bikol mainland and the island province of Catanduanes. Through this road.

Catanduanes is further integrated into the mainstream of development by way of shortening the land travel time between the Maharlika Highway and Tabaco Port by almost an hour, Cristobal said.

The island province that lies at the Pacific Ocean and major producer of abaca fiber derives its consumers’ goods, supply of some basic food items, construction materials and other manufactured commodities from the Bikol mainland particularly Albay and Camarines Sur up to Metro Manila.

At the same time, this new road network will help in the preservation of Maharlika Highway that serves as the main thoroughfare between Metro Manila and the Bicol mainland.

“This will reduce the volume of traffic between Legazpi City and the Anayan intersection in Pili, Camarines Sur that would divert traffic to and from Tabaco City and the rest of the first district of Albay,” Cristobal said.

The new road network is proposed to be named Felix O. Alfelor Highway in honor of the former governor of Camarines Sur who conceptualized the project over two decades ago.

Cristobal said continuing improvement of this highway has been included in the program of the DPWH Bicol regional office under its Annual Investment Program (AIP) for 2010 that requires an additional of P125 million for an additional length of about six kilometers of concreting.

The entire DPWH’s AIP for year 2010 worth some P6 billion has been endorsed by the Regional Development Council (RDC) being in support of the objectives and strategies of the Updated Regional Development Plan for 2008 to 2010.

Eduardo Talastas, chief of the DPWH’s regional planning office said this P6 billion AIP for 2010 is in line with the national government’s thrust towards laborbased infrastructure development designed to generate employment opportunities for the local manpower.

“We have already advised all private contractors transacting business with the DPWH in the region to utilize local labor in every project they are undertaking,” Talastas said.

This means that at least 10 percent of the total cost of each government project implemented by private contractors goes to salaries and wages of laborers, he added. (PNA)