THE Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) suspended the closure of the bridge connecting the cities of Mandaluyong and Makati following “public demand” prompted by traffic concerns, a spokesman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said on Tuesday.
MMDA Spokeswoman Celine Pialago said the closure of the Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge and its construction was moved to January 2019 instead of this week. The bridge was closed at 8 a.m. last Sunday but the Makati Safety Department (Mapsa) opened it on Tuesday at 5 a.m. on orders of the DPWH.
Pialago said the DPWH allowed the use of the bridge since there were no construction activities in the two days it was closed and due to “public demand.”
“So far literally speaking no construction happened, it is their (Mapsa) discretion. They coordinated with the DPWH but I think they should have informed us so we could conduct traffic management much earlier and for public advisory,” Pialago told reporters.
The agency previously said that the DPWH has secured all permits and necessary documents for the construction to start.
In a letter to the MMDA, Virgilio Castillo, project director of the bridge reconstruction, said the DPWH ordered the postponement because of public clamor and pressure from businessmen who would be affected by the project.
“[Due] to public clamor and apprehension of the business circle that the timing and closure will cause possible huge economic loss specially this coming holiday season, we are constrained to defer the implementation of the project,” Castillo said.
MMDA on Thursday said the closure of the bridge would bring about the worst traffic “ever” as several bridges were undergoing construction, together with the expected gridlock from the Holiday season.
About 100,000 vehicles pass through the 10-year-old bridge, which extends to the posh Rockwell village. It will be demolished and replaced by a four-lane bridge that will take 30 months to finish. NEIL JAYSON N. SERVALLOS, LIEZELLE ROY