NEW ROAD. A portion of the PHP1.12 billion Samar Pacific Coastal Road project in Northern Samar. The Korean government-funded project has already opened and concreted 8.25 kilometers out of the 11.6-kilometer road stretch after four years of construction. (Photo courtesy of the Department of Public Works and Highways)

TACLOBAN CITY – The Korean-funded PHP1.12 billion Samar Pacific Coastal Road project in Northern Samar province has opened and concreted 8.25 kilometers out of the 11.6-kilometer road stretch after four years of construction.

A Sept. 25, 2022 status report sent by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) regional office here to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Thursday, showed the road is already passable with only 3.35 kilometers up for paving.

Under the revised target, the project will be completed by Dec. 31, 2022.

Of the three bridges within the new road network, one bridge has been completed – the Simora Bridge in Palapag, Northern Samar, which was opened on June 27, 2022.

Jangtud I Bridge is now 72 percent complete while Jangtud II Bridge is 58 percent done. Both bridges are also located in Palapag town.

In a statement, the DPWH Unified Project Management Office said the onset of the pandemic and bad weather in Eastern Visayas brought major hurdles in the construction.

Various circumstances delayed the target full completion of the road project, which is one of the 119 infrastructure flagship projects under the “Build, Build, Build” program.

“About 29 typhoons affected the project since it started in May 2018, hindering the work of its contractor Ilsung Construction Co., Ltd. of Korea, and partner Pacific Concrete Products,” the DPWH said.

The opening of Simora Bridge and the eight-kilometer concrete road in Northern Samar will benefit over 5,000 poor residents in remote communities of the province, according to DPWH.

The newly completed bridge and road section, part of the foreign-funded Samar Pacific Coastal Road, will benefit coconut and rice farmers in nine villages in the coastal towns of Palapag, Laoang, and Catubig in Northern Samar.

The project starts at the Simora Junction, and traverses to the remote coastal villages of Laoang, Catubig, and Palapag towns.

The project is funded by the South Korean government through Export-Import Bank of Korea. It is being implemented by the DPWH Unified Project Management Office.

Before project’s initial completion, residents of Palapag and three other Pacific towns -- Mapanas, Gamay, and Lapinig-- need to cross a river to Calomotan village of Laoang from the port in Pangpang village in Palapag town, then take a boat ride to the port in the town center and ride another pump boat to cross the river going to Rawis village. (PNA)