Lapu choice for 4th bridge 'more expensive,' says exec

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A CHANGE in the location of the proposed 4th Cebu-Mactan Bridge as suggested by the Lapu-Lapu City Government would raise the project cost and require new approval from the Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) and the Neda Board.

“In fact, the option proposed by the Lapu-Lapu City actually increases the cost significantly. In fact, if I’m not mistaken, to the tune of P7 to P8 billion,” Gordon Alan Joseph, chairman of the Regional Development Council’s (RDC) infrastructure development committee (IDC), said during the full council meeting on June 18, 2021.

He noted that the project could “barely hurdle” the 10 percent minimum economic internal rate of return (EIRR) required by the ICC.

An increase in cost without corresponding increase in project benefits may result in an EIRR that is lower than 10 percent and prompt the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) to disapprove the project, Joseph added.

The project, estimated to cost P76.412 billion, is funded by a 119.225 billion yen loan (roughly P52 billion). It has two components: a four-lane 3.3-kilometer (km) bridge, with an elevated four-lane viaduct; and a four-lane 4.9-km coastal road with an elevated viaduct.

Lapu-Lapu City has refused to grant a permit to executing agency Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7 for the conduct of surveys for the detailed engineering design (DED) study, hindering project implementation.

Joseph said the IDC has instructed the DPWH 7 to present again to Lapu-Lapu City, in the presence of the IDC and RDC 7, the advantages and disadvantages of each option.

“The project is being held up. It is a project that is agreed on the national level and so, the reason for this resolution is to seek, to ask for support of the RDC in the next scheduled series of consultations in Lapu-Lapu City where the pros, cons, disadvantages and advantages of this project will be once again presented to Lapu-Lapu City,” he said.

Options

What has been approved by the Neda Board and for Japanese official development assistance is a bridge that will connect Mandaue City, near Cansaga Bay Bridge, to Lapu-Lapu City, near Marina Mall. DPWH 7 calls this option 1.

Option 2, which did not receive support from either the DPWH or the Lapu-Lapu City Government, envisions a bridge farther to the north. This would increase the distance across Mactan Channel and entail a higher construction cost.

Joseph said his committee was informed during their meeting on May 25, 2021 that the Lapu-Lapu City Government has objected to option 1 and proposed that the Lapu-Lapu end of the bridge be located “somewhere near Barangay Ibo,” which is about 2.06 kilometers from the Marcelo Fernan Bridge (2nd bridge).

Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan earlier said option 1 would be located only about 900 meters from the foot of the Marcelo Fernan Bridge and will, thus, create little vehicular space for traffic between the two bridges.

He also said it would disrupt commercial activity in one of its business intersections and one of the main crossroads of Mactan Economic Zone and some infrastructure facilities could be destroyed.

Assessment

Joseph said Lapu-Lapu’s objection was discussed further in a special meeting called by the IDC last June 9, during which the DPWH 7 discussed the feasibility as well as advantages and disadvantages of all available options for alignment.

He said the proposed project has undergone “a lot of excellent” technical study by the DPWH.

The analysis and evaluation was based on the following: route and technical aspects, traffic impact assessment, access connectivity to the airport terminal, effects on existing properties, and the development plans of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

“You will note that in option 1, as soon as the bridge connects to the at-grade level of the Airport Road, traffic is expected to be smooth through the Airport Terminal and vice versa, as opposed to the Lapu-Lapu City’s recently recommended option, where heavy traffic is expected to build up further especially along the road section proximate to Gate 4 of Mepz 1,” he said.

Mepz 1 is the old name for the Mactan Economic Zone, which has been identified as a traffic bottleneck.

Perla Amar, OIC City Planning and Development coordinator of Lapu-Lapu City, reiterated the stand of the current City administration to ask DPWH to reconsider the options.

“But that was the recommendation of the City, which is to adopt the third option, for the present administration is not amenable to the first option as regards the alignment of the fourth bridge,” she said.

RDC 7 Chair Kenneth Cobonpue, for his part, agreed to ask Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) Sec. Michael Dino to allow both the Lapu-Lapu City Government and the DPWH 7 to present their arguments to OPAV so that the OPAV can make an “informed decision” on the matter.

This, after Amar said also during the June 18 full council meeting that Chan is scheduled to meet with Dino to discuss the project. (WBS)

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