Cebu 3rd bridge cost rises to P27B

THE third bridge between Mactan Island and mainland Cebu will push through but it will cost P10 billion more than the original project cost.

Cebu City Administrator Lucelle Mercado said that the cost of the third Mactan-mainland Cebu bridge rose to P27 billion from P17 billion.

The proposed bridge will span eight kilometers from the mouth of the Guadalupe River to Shell Island and then Cordova. The project includes the construction of a toll plaza and causeway.

Mercado said that the project cost also includes acquisition of the road right of way and beautification of the Guadalupe River easement where one of the approaches of the bridge will be built.

Project proponent Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC), a subsidiary of the Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), offered to build and operate the bridge. The Municipal Government of Cordova and Cebu City Government will get a share of the toll collected from bridge users.

Inflation

Ramoncito Fernandez, president of MPTC, told reporters that the cost estimate of the project rose because of capitalized interest and inflation adjustment.

Mercado noted that the previous cost estimate was based on 2014 prices. A recalculation was made using 2015 and 2016 prices.

Fernandez said that MPTC is in the final stage of completing the draft concession agreement with the local government units.

The agreement covers 35 years.

Cordova Mayor Adelino Sitoy said that the bridge will be constructed in the first quarter of 2016.

Swiss challenge

Sitoy said that the project will be presented for a Swiss challenge this month. “Hopefully the project will start by February 2016,” Sitoy said.

In a Swiss challenge, the government publishes details of the bid and invites third parties to match or exceed the offer of the original proponent. The proponent of the unsolicited bid, MPTC has the option to match the most competitive bid.

Cordova and Cebu City signed a certificate of completed negotiations with MPIC last month.

Groundbreaking for the third bridge was held last January yet and construction was supposed to begin three months after.

Sitoy said that there's no need for President Benigno Aquino III’s approval of the project for Cordova and Cebu City because the bridge will be built as a joint venture. He said that both Cebu City and Cordova have Private-Public Partnership (PPP) ordinances.

“One of the conditions (in the agreement), is for MPIC to share one percent of the gross sales with Cordova and another one percent with Cebu City,” Sitoy said.

He said that the third bridge will compliment the Cordova-Getafe (Bohol) bridge.

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