The Philippines’ Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has decided to expedite the development of an alternative route between Manito, Albay and Bacon, Sorsogon.

The authority has planned to complete the road project within this year.

DPWH Region 5 director Danilo E. Versola said that the alternative 15.3km-long Bacon-Manito Road will comprise two lanes with five bridges running through the mountainous terrain along the east coast of Albay and Sorsogon.

The new route, with only three ongoing contracts to be completed, is expected to reduce the travel time by nearly three hours.

Manito and Bacon are currently connected through a series of secondary roads and congested Daang Maharlika Road.

After completion of the project, motorists can bypass the city road and the original route, which is four times longer than the under-construction Bacon-Manito Road.

“This road will provide a better and safer alternative route to the travelling public.”

Versola said: “This road will provide a better and safer alternative route to the travelling public. It will not only result to substantial savings for motorists but also improve economic condition of these nature-rich areas of Albay and Sorsogon.”

He noted that one of the contracts involving the construction of a 3.9km gap in Barangay Osiao to Barangay Sto. Niño in Bacon, Sorsogon, is almost complete.

To develop this segment, DPWH allocated P183m ($3.52m) to carry out road opening, paving, drainage construction and other activities.

Another contract valuing P110m ($2.12m) involves the opening of 699 lineal metre roads, concreting of 232 lineal metre roads and construction of two bridges in Bacon Sorsogon.

The contract is now 40% complete.

The last P150m ($2.89m) contract includes gravelling of 756 lineal metre roads and concreting of 836 lineal metre roads, as well as construction of two bridges, also located in Bacon.