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Bridges of progress

PH has 8,260 bridges, 6,669 of which are national

IF the road condition is often used as an index to assess the extent of the country’s progress, bridges are the link to progress and economic development. And the government office responsible for maintaining the bridges along national roads is DPWH, or Department of Public Works and Highways.

On its latest inventory, DPWH said there are 6,669 national bridges all over the country out of the total 8,260. In line with government’s “Build, Build, Build” program, construction of infrastructure projects, including new bridges, is happening in every region nationwide.

Secretary Mark Villar said DPWH has already widened a total of 511 bridges, replaced 204, and built 127 new ones, rehabilitated 939, and strengthened 642 other bridges. He also said the Inter-Island Linkage Project is a network of short- and long-span bridges that would allow land travel to and from Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao, is also in its advanced stages.

In October 2018, we will start the construction of the 3.77-kilometer (km) Panguil Bay Bridge, which will connect the city of Tangub, in Misamis Occidental, to the municipality of Tubod, in Lanao del Norte,” Villar said. Once completed, in 2021, it will only take 10 minutes to reach Tangub City from Tubod using the bridge compared with the 2.5 hours it would take using the 102-km route via the Tubod- Kapatagan-Molave-Tangub road.

Travel time between Ozamiz City, in Misamis Occidental, and Brgy. Mukas, in Kolambugan, Lanao Del Norte, will be reduced to 20 minutes from 2.5 hours using RORO (roll-on/roll-off) operations using Panguil Bay Bridge.

Also included in this network are the Bataan-Cavite Interlink, Mindoro-Batangas Super Bridge, Panay-Guimaras-Negors Link, Negros-Cebu Link Bridge, Guicam Brdige, Camarines-Catanduanes Friend Bridge, Luzon Sorsogon-Samar Link Bridge, and Davao-Samal Bridge, among other bridges.

Retrofitting, repair

In Metro Manila, DPWH has allotted P1.076 billion for the retrofitting, rehabilitation, and replacement of 36 weak and old bridges to make them safe and resilient if large-magnitude earthquakes occur.

Melvin Navarro, director of DPWH National Capital Region (NCR), said 26 bridges need retrofitting, nine are for rehabilitation, and one is for replacement.

For NCR priority projects, the focus is on the repair and replacement of bridges that need seismic upgrade, Villar said. Thus, DPWH has allocated P726.782 million to retrofit a total of 26 bridges, P323.753 million to rehabilitate nine bridges, and P25 million to replace one bridge under the 2018 General Appropriations Act (GAA).

“As of now, load capacity of old bridges in Metro Manila is constrained, hence heavy vehicles are rerouted or detoured,” Villar added. “Some are also narrow, limiting the volume of vehicles. These problems will be addressed when these retrofitting and widening works are completed.”

Bridges that will be retrofitted or strengthened include the Alabang-Bayanan, Cupang, Insular Bilibid Prison, and Lower Buli Bridges and in Muntinlupa City; C.P. Garcia and Pasig Boulevard Bridges, in Pasig City; Quezon Bridge, in Taguig City; Pasong Tamo Bridge, in Makati City; Canumay, Polo, Malinta Interchange and Torres Bridges (Valenzuela City); and Algeciras, Antipolo, McArthur, Muelle de la Industria Bridges, and Nagtahan Link Bridge 1, in Manila.

Also, Culiat Bridges 1 and 2 (northbound and southbound) and Lagarian Bridge 1, in Quezon City; Cut-Cut Bridge (northbound), Cementina Malibay Bridges 1 and 2 (northbound and southbound), and Tramo Bridge, in Pasay City; and Marcos Alvarez Bridge 1, in Las Piñas City.

Major rehabilitation will be implemented on the following bridges: Barangca Viaduct (flyover), Marcos, Marikina, and Nangka­—all in Marikina City; Buting and C5/Ortigas Interchange, in Pasig City; and Delpan, Mabini, and Nagtahan Flyover, in Manila.

Pasay City’s Tripa de Gallina Bridge, which is rapidly deteriorating, will be replaced, and works are ongoing. As per DPWH-Bridge Management System inventory, the four-lane bridge needs to undergo urgent replacement because of wear and tear by about 50 years of service, as evidenced by cracks.

According to Navarro, the 36 NCR bridges, along with 12 other carryover priority bridges funded betwee 2015 and 2017, will be rehabilitated or widened this year to provide better and safer travel for motorists. These include, among other bridges, Ayala Bridge, Jones Bridge, McArthur Bridge, Nagtahan Bridge, and Quezon Bridge.

Modern bridges

DPWH has also started the construction of two iconic, modern bridges, namely, Estrella-Pantaleon and Binondo-Intramuros, which will soon become new landmarks in the cities of Manila, Makati, and Mandaluyong. To be accessible to the public by 2020, these projects are covered by grants from Chinese President Xi Jinping, following President Duterte’s visit to China, in 2016.

The Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge will connect Estrella St., in Makati City, and Barangka Dr., in Mandaluyong City, while the Binondo-Intramuros Bridge will cross Pasig River and provide a new link between the Manila districts of Intramuros and Binondo. The two bridges are part of Metro Manila Logistics Improvement Network, a traffic management plan composed of 12 new bridges crossing Pasig River, Marikina River, and Manggahan Floodway.

“These two bridges are a product of our partnership with the people of China,” Villar said. “We are optimistic about this collaboration, as they will be providing world-class bridges that will truly be beneficial for us Filipinos.”

Based on its project design, Binondo-Intramuros Bridge will be a four-lane, steel bowstring arch bridge with inclined arches that will connect the Intramuros side at Solana St. and Riverside Dr., as well as the Binondo side at San Fernando St. with a viaduct.

The Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge will also have four lanes, but will be a 506-meter twin spine steel box girder bridge with concrete deck slab. It will utilize the existing approaches at Makati City and Mandaluyong City sides, with modification on abutment and pier to accommodate a new bridge superstructure.

As proposed by Villar, 11 other iconic bridges will also be built across the 25-km Pasig River to provide commuters and motorists alternative routes to help decongest traffic along EDSA and other major thoroughfares around Metro Manila. The bridges will be similar to those in London and France, featuring bike lanes, among other amenities.

Among the new bridges to be built, meanwhile, is one that will connect Bonifacio Global City, in Taguig City, and Ortigas Center, in Pasig City. It is expected to absorb 25 percent of daily traffic on EDSA, where more than 350,000 vehicles pass daily.


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