IMPLEMENT a load limit and study how to reinforce the first Mactan-Mandaue Bridge’s structural integrity. These were among the recommendations made by the Regional Development Council (RDC) 7 on Friday, Dec. 13, 2019.
In its fourth quarter full council meeting held in Tagbilaran City, Bohol, the RDC passed two resolutions concerning the 42-year-old bridge. The first measure urged the Mactan Cebu Bridge Management Board to consider implementing a load limit scheme for vehicles crossing the first bridge. The second resolution requested the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) central office to consider the urgency of conducting a feasibility study on what type of civil works would be fit to reinforce the structural integrity of the bridge.
The council also asked the DPWH to prioritize works to rehabilitate the bridge by including it in its investment program and budget proposal.
The first resolution was passed “under the premise that there is fear about an accident in-waiting on the first Mactan bridge.”
The first bridge, officially the Sergio Osmeña Bridge, started construction in 1970, a year after the ordination of Mandaue as a chartered city. Designed and created by Filipino engineers, the bridge is 864 meters long and nine meters wide. It was inaugurated on July 4, 1973.
In its report, the RDC-Infrastructure Development Council (IDC) said the bridge has sustained serious damage, requiring “urgent” action to improve the bridge’s structural integrity to ensure the safety of commuters and motorists.
IDC members compared the bridge to a “parking area” as bottleneck traffic had led to stalled vehicular flow on the bridge.
A 2015 roadmap study conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) and the Metro Cebu Development and Coordinating Board revealed that while there are two bridges serving inter-island traffic between mainland Cebu and Mactan, vehicular traffic on the first bridge has reached its capacity, and it is highly possible the second bridge will experience congestion by 2020.
“Thus it is necessary to construct the third bridge (Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway or CCLEX),” reads a portion of the study. The CCLEX construction is ongoing and will be completed in 2021.
Furthermore, the study highlighted that the “first bridge is dilapidated” and that safety concerns must be urgently addressed.
In a related development, the RDC also urged the City Governments of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu to coordinate with DPWH 7 to fast-track road-right-of-way (RROW) acquisitions to pave the way for the construction of the fourth bridge.
The construction of the fourth bridge will cost P73.28 billion. Of the amount, P14.26 billion will be shouldered by the National Government through the DPWH for RROW acquisition. The rest of the expenses will be funded through an Official Development Assistance loan from Japan.
This will cover P49.26 billion for construction, P3.51 billion in consultancy services and P6.25 billion in contingency expenses. The project needs to be endorsed/approved by the Neda-Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) and the Neda Board.
As of June 2019, the DPWH estimated 104 houses and 28 establishments in Mandaue City and two in Lapu-Lapu City will be affected by the project. The DPWH promised to pay owners of affected structures based on market value of their properties.
The fourth bridge, which will be called the New Cebu Mactan Bridge, will connect the area near the Mactan Economic Zone in Barangay Ibo, Lapu-Lapu City to Cansaga Bay on the side of Barangay Paknaan, Mandaue City. The bridge is seen by the DPWH as the solution to the traffic jams in Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu and the northern towns of Consolacion and Liloan.
Part of the plan is to connect the fourth bridge to the Mandaue Coastal Road, which will traverse the two older bridges and the coastal barangays.
The fourth bridge will have a length of 3.2 kilometers, while the Manduae Coastal Road will have a length of 4.3 kilometers. Construction is scheduled to start in the later part of 2021.
The RDC also approved the IDC’s recommendation for the former to include the New Cebu Mactan Bridge and Coastal Road construction project in the updated Central Visayas Regional Development Investment Program for 2020 to 2022. The RDC endorsed the project to the Neda Board and ICC.