THE Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza) has pushed back the completion date for the P80-million San Juanico Bridge lighting project from November 2018 to April 2019.
Regional Development Council’s infrastructure and utilities development committee vice chair Oliver Cam said Tieza and other stakeholders agreed that completing the project on or before November 2018 is not realistic.
“There are lots of basic paper works to be done to get to the point where it is ready for implementation. There’s a need to come up with technical details, engineering design, and scope of work of the project,” Cam said.
The RDC official who represents the business sector said Tieza is closely coordinating with the project proponent, the Samar Provincial Government, to carry out the project. A management board with various agencies and local government units as members will be organized to manage the new tourism attraction.
Brett de los Santos, Samar provincial investment and trade promotions office chief, said the new target completion date is April 2019. The plan is to light up the entire 2.16-kilometer structure.
“Once the project is complete, there would be a 10-minute light show six times nightly that may include water, light, and laser aspects. Every night, there would be six-hour park mode or static mode lights with subtle movement of lights,” de los Santos said.
The project will use light-emitting diode, one of today's most energy-efficient and rapidly-developing lighting technologies.
Just like other shows, its colors will be in support of various events throughout the year, the lighting will also be programmed to celebrate special occasions, Tan said.
Samar’s Provincial Government will also build a boardwalk for a perfect view of the show and provide music. Tan encourages investors to put up shops nearby.
Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan shared the idea on illuminating the iconic bridge to Tacloban City Mayor Cristina Romualdez, Regional Development Council chairperson, in an effort to add vibrancy and interest to nighttime tourism.
At present, tourists can enjoy daytime activities at the San Juanico Bridge through the tour packages offered by private operator, Aquamomentum.
The bridge’s transformation would be a new attraction under the Spark Samar, a branding campaign initially launched in 2015.
Once called the Marcos Bridge, the San Juanico Bridge was built in August 1969 over the San Juanico Strait, the narrowest navigational strait in the world that separates Samar and Leyte Islands and was completed in December 1972.
The bridge, which spans 2.162 kilometers, was built as part of the Pan-Philippine Highway now called the Maharlika Highway, a network of roads, bridges, and sea routes that connect the islands of Luzon, Samar, Leyte, and Mindanao. (PNA)