MANILA, Philippines — It’s all systems go for the rehabilitation of the Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge on January 19 after being put on hold for several times.
The structure connects Estrella in Makati and Barangka Drive in Mandaluyong City.
The plan to rehabilitate the bridge has been deferred three times already.
According to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the structure is just seven years old and based on its original design, it only has a 25,000 carrying capacity.
However, there are at least 35,000 vehicles plying the bridge every single day which have caused its pavement to weaken and be at risk of collapse.
“Bukod sa paluluwangin, tinitignan din namin yung preparedness nito sa the ‘big one’ na sinasabi ng Philvocs na diyan sa Mandaluyong area eh pine-predict ang intensity,” said DPWH project manager Toyet Castillo.
The DPWH plans to add two more lanes to the bridge’s existing two so that more vehicles will be able to ply on the bridge.
There will also be expansion of the sidewalks and strengthening of its foundation.
The project costs P1.47 billion but the government will not shoulder any amount since the overall fund is a grant from China.
The bridge will be temporarily closed to motorists for a period of three years.
For this reason, motorists are advised to take an alternative route.
Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) sees heavy traffic situation especially in Makati because of the bridge’s closure.
“Dati ang average niyan para makatawid ka sa bridge mga 10 minutes lang nandoon ka na sa kabila. Kapag nagsara iyan, mga 30 minutes, kasi iikot ka pa. Pero I doubt it, baka 1 hour,” explained MMDA general manager, Jose Arturo Garcia.
The MMDA is now coordinating with the traffic bureaus from Makati and Mandaluyong to help clear the roads that will serve as alternative routes for motorists.
Aside from the Estrella-Pantaleon bridge, the MMDA also plans to begin the rehabilitation of Guadalupe Bridge in Makati and Lambingan Bridge in Manila. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Joan Nano)
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