DPWH explores options for CDO flood control project

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CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY–The Department of Public Works and Highways in Region 10 (DPWH-10) said it will find another alternative to decongest flooding at Limketkai Center and divert rainwaters from upstream to a new subterranean drain, as a measure to avoid urban flooding in the future.

This developed after the Limketkai Center management flatly denied the agency’s request to allow DPWH to connect a drain within the mall’s 10-hectare shopping complex to relieve Bitan-ag Creek from floodwaters cascading from upstream.

Engr. Leowald Pecore, DPWH-10 project head, warned during Monday’s press conference that if the Limketkai management continues to deny the government access to implement the flood-control project, the whole shopping complex and its surrounding areas would suffer waist to neck-level inundation.

Pecore pointed out that the Limketkai area has been a bottleneck for floodwaters, perennially experiencing flooding during heavy downpours and a sizable area within the downtown.

The Limketkai Center is situated in the city’s urban center, where its main road, the CM Recto Avenue, is a national road connected to the entry and exit points of the city from east to west. The area is home to business establishments and several schools.

Pecore said the DPWH will not not rule out initiating expropriation proceedings against the establishment in the future.

Under the new plan, the DPWH official said that a subterranean canal currently constructed along Valenzuela Road leading to Agora will be connected to CM Recto Avenue. The canal will serve as a catchment for rainwater instead of it flowing to the Bitan-ag Creek and be obstructed at the Limketkai bottleneck.

A portion of Bitan-ag Creek is situated within the mall property, and questions have been raised why the local government allowed the mall’s construction on a water body in the early 2000s.

In addition, Pecore said that from the creek’s upstream side, DPWH will relieve some of the expected floodwaters to a new drain along Camaman-an and JR Borja extension that would link to Kolambog Creek in Barangay Lapasan.

City Engineer Rolando Pacuribot expressed reservations about the DPWH’s plan, saying the PHP1 billion flood-control project will go to waste if the floodwaters from upstream can’t be connected to the Bitan-ag Creek.

“Ma-defeat ang purpose ngano gihimo ang drainage sa DPWH. (The purpose will be defeated if DPWH will not continue with the original plan),” Pacuribot said.

Pacuribot also underscored the need to address upland waste disposal along riverbanks and creeks, pointing out that this has also contributed to the city’s flooding problem.

Still, Pecore said DPWH continue pressing the management of Limketkai Center for the drain to run through their property and connect it to Bitan-ag Creek. -PNA

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