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First-Ever Long Distance Mountain Tunnel to Rise Soon in Davao

The construction of the first ever long distance mountain tunnel in the country will soon start in Davao City, as the developers signed the contract on October 29, Manila Bulletin reported. The 2.3-kilometer thoroughfare is part of the first 10.7-kilometer segment of the Davao City Bypass Road Project, which stretches 45.5 kilometers.

The tunnel will traverse the mountainous section of Barangay Magtuod, linking Barangays Sirawan in Davao City and J.P. Laurel in Panabo City. Once completed, it will reduce travel time from an hour and 44 minutes to 49 minutes. Motorists can access it via the existing Pan-Philippine Highway Diversion Road.

According to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), this first segment of the bypass road is set to be finished in three years. They signed the contract with the joint venture of Shimizu Corporation, Ulticon Builders, Inc., and Takenaka Civil Engineering & Construction Co. Ltd., amounting to P13.230 billion.

Divided into packages, the entire initiative will have: I-1 (10.7 km), I-2 (12.8 km), I-3 (6.1 km), II-1 (2.7 km), II-2 (3.5 km), and II-3 (9.7 km).

Connected City

The bypass road project is one of the key developments in the current administration’s Build, Build, Build program. It’s among the expanded 100 infrastructure projects the government released in late 2019. In September of this year, it’s one of the developments Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez II identified as a major recipient of funding despite the coronavirus crisis, as mentioned in this Sunstar report.

In the news article by Manila Bulletin, the DPWH said that the bypass road is crucial in connecting the west and east sides of the city to strengthen economic activities further.

Once completed, the bypass road will improve the mobility of goods and services and reduce transportation costs. It will likewise promote the developing agro-industrial industry, while preventing congestion in the urban center. 

Designed to improve accessibility, the thoroughfare will facilitate more convenient travels to major ports in Davao Gulf, such as Sasa Port and Davao International Container Port in Panabo City.

Robust Region

While the King City of the South is set to be more connected, Mindanao, as a whole, will likewise see better transportation linkages. According to a report from CNN Philippines, the massive Mindanao Railway project will start construction in the first quarter of 2021. Partial operations will be in the fourth quarter of next year, while full operations will be in the second quarter of 2022.

It was in 2019 when the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board approved the first phase of the project, as reported by the Department of Transportation (DOTr)

Known as the Tagum-Davao-Digos segment, the first phase involves constructing a 74-km at-grade and 26-km elevated commuter railway from Tagum City in Davao del Norte to Digos City in Davao del Sur. It will consist of eight stations located in Tagum, Carmen, Panabo, Mudiang, Davao, Toril, Sta. Cruz, and Digos.  

Once completed, Phase 1 of the project will serve around 130,000 commuters a day in its first year. It will also reduce travel time from three and a half hours to only 1.3 hours. 

Overall, the proposed 1,550-kilometer Mindanao Railway will link key cities, including Davao, Butuan, Surigao, Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Cotabato, Zamboanga, and General Santos.

Recovering Property Sector

Infrastructure projects in Mindanao will particularly lend benefits to the real estate industry, facilitating stronger demand as the sector recovers from the coronavirus crisis. 

In the latest Lamudi trend report in partnership with Colliers International Philippines, Provincial cities and overseas interest contribute to real estate resilience, the latter stated that buyers will more likely show interest in properties located near infrastructure projects.

The consultancy firm mentioned a few key developments on top of the Mindanao Railway Project: Davao Coastal Road, Davao Monorail, and Davao Bus Rapid Transit.

The preference stems from the need for convenience, which is one of the top priorities of buyers amid the pandemic. In the recently concluded Lamudi roundtable discussion, thought leaders agreed that the market prefers better access to essential establishments and transportation options. 

May Lopez, Vice President and Business Unit Head of I-Land, said, “With the experience of the lockdown, all of us are realizing the importance of a strategic location. Homebuyers are really looking for accessibility to basic necessities, meaning residences that would be giving you walking distance from shops, groceries, and even to banks, [as well as properties] very accessible to other means of alternative transportation.”

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Article and Photo originally posted by Lamudi last November 12, 2020.