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MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte, Feb. 23 (PIA) -- The district engineering office of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in this province will include the inputs of the agency's Geologist in the repair work of Agas-Agas bridge in Sogod, whose ground surroundings around the two pier columns were earlier found starting to succumb to soil erosion.

This developed after a team from the DPWH Central office's Bureau of Design and Bureau of Construction visited the bridge, said to be the country's highest at 84 meters. The visit last Monday, Monday, February 16, was to assess the situation preparatory for a major repair work.

"They conducted an ocular inspection on the actual condition of said bridge and its surrounding landscape to identify whether the proposed plans for the rehabilitation of access road submitted by this office would conform to the soil type," said Ruella Altar, SLDEO Information Officer.

"Their written report which will be furnished to this office as soon as available will provide recommendations and suggestion on how to mitigate and avoid further damage to the structures that will be built," Altar said in a news release emailed to PIA.

In her report, IO Altar quoted Jayne Atienza, the DPWH Geologist, as saying rampant illegal logging activities was observed in the area that even young trees were cut for firewood, posing danger to the erosion-prone slopes where the bridge is located.

"She said that the surrounding mountain slopes must also be taken into consideration and not just only the erosion that occurs beneath the bridge since these are correlated consequences: the debris from the erosion on the nearby mountain slopes will push the soil downward," Altar said quoting the observations of geologist Atienza.

Altar also said that DPWH has released P 45.8 Million earmarked for the rehabilitation of piers and abutment protection of Agas-Agas bridge, a project expected to be in full swing of implementation early this year. (ajc/esg/mmp, PIA8-Southern Leyte)