Officials fear new Malaybalay road stunts city’s growth

MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News/20 May) City officials feared that a 20-kilometer road project being constructed to divert traffic from downtown Malaybalay will likely diminish growth in the area, vice mayor Roland Deticio said.

Deticio said the Department of Public Works and Highways is constructing a by-pass word from Brgy. San Jose to Brgy. Dalwangan, diverting traffic away from the city center.

“We are opposed to that because of its effect to business in the downtown area,” he added, although he admitted they are yet to file a resolution pending some data on the project.

The issue was subject to an executive session of the city council with Mayor Ignacio W. Zubiri Monday.

Deticio said city officials are looking at proposing to DPWH that the new road should use the city’s circumferential road that joins the Sayre Highway in Brgy. Sumpong near the office of Bukidnon Forests Inc. (BFI).

“It is nearer the downtown area and it will not drive away business that much,” he added.

The DPWH said the bypass road veers from the Sayre Highway near the Del Monte plantation/Philippine Eagle area in Dalwangan and to return the highway near the Valencia Rubbertex factory in Brgy. San Jose.
The DPWH has allocated P100 million from its “regular infrastructure” budget in 2014 for the initial phase of the project for road opening for around three kilometres, to include earthworks, excavation, cleaning and grubbing, embankment, installation of road canals, riprap and cross drainages, according to Ms. Sandra Flores, DPWH-10 public information officer.

Flores said it will also include payment for road right of way.

The DPWH clarified that cutting distance is not the key reason for the construction of the bypass road.

“..the objective is to decongest the business center of Malaybalay and open other areas for development,” she added in an email Tuesday afternoon.

Flores said the DPWH have initiated negotiations long before for widening of the portion of the Sayre Highway that cuts across the downtown area.
“There is difficulty in widening the road within Malaybalay City (proper) because of businessmen’s resistance,” she added.

She cited that businessmen resisted the idea because it would mean portions of their properties would have to be torn down to give way to the road.

She cited that DPWH found out that it would be less costly to open a new road than to insist on road widening with alleged high demand in obtaining road right of way.

“(With good and wider roads) this is also another opportunity to spread development within Malaybalay City,” Flores added.

The 240-days construction of the road started on March 10, 2014 with target completion set on November 5, this year. (Walter I. Balane/Bukidnon News.Net)