4TH BRIDGE TO START NEXT YEAR

By: Irene R. Sino Cruz November 09,2018 - 11:33 PM

Sample picture perspective of the 4th Mandaue-Mactan Bridge Project across the channel to anticipate future traffic demand between mainland Cebu and Mactan Island.

Feasibility study on new Mandaue-Mactan Bridge set in January; construction to follow after 8 months 

Barring hitches in the project implementation, the construction of the 4th Mandaue-Mactan Bridge will start late next year.

The feasibility study for the 420-linear meter bridge would begin in January next year, according to Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Undersecretary Emil Sadain.

“Eight months later, we will start construction (of the bridge project),” Sadain told reporters after a press briefing held in City Sports Club yesterday afternoon.

Sadain, along with officials of the National Economic Development Authority (Neda), Department of Finance, Bangko Sentral Ng Pilipinas and the Department of Budget and Management held a day-long briefing for the business sector.

The topics included updates on the Train law and Trabaho Bill as well as other topics about the economy.

Sadain, who heads the DPWH Unified Project Management Office (UPMO), told a news conference that the feasibility study on the fourth bridge that would connect mainland Cebu to Mactan Island would start early next year.

It would be funded by a grant from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) but the actual project would be funded by a P3-billion loan, also from JICA.

The study was expected to be completed in eight months. After that, the construction would follow by the fourth quarter next year.

The project cost was placed at US$57.69 million or roughly P3 billion and would be funded under the official development assistance from Jica, said Sadain, also DPWH Undersecretary for Technical Services.

Based on the project’s timeline, the construction was targeted to be completed in four years –from 2019 to 2023.

But Sadain said they would try to complete the project before President Duterte steps down in 2022.

He said a coordination meeting between Jica representatives and DPWH was set on Nov. 21 to discuss the particulars of the feasibility study /preparatory survey scheduled to start in January 2019.

“Just yesterday (Thursday), we have finalized the preparation on the documentation for the high level discussion. The 420-meter long, four lane bridge will be connected to the existing national highway,” the undersecretary said.

The exact alignment of the bridge would be determined after the feasibility study was done, said Efren Carreon, NEDA director for Central Visayas, in a text message to Cebu Daily News.

The scheduled completion of the 4th bridge would come two years after the construction of the third bridge, which was projected to be finished by 2021.

The Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX), however, is a project between Cebu City and Cordova town and the Manny Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Tollways Development Corp. (MPTDC) under a public-private partnership arrangement.

But the three bridges would not be enough to decongest traffic going and coming from Mactan Island which is home to Cebu’s lone international airport, five-star hotel-resorts, subdivisions and condominiums.

JICA earlier said a fourth bridge was still necessary to ease the congestion.

Another project that was expected to decongest traffic in Cebu was the 73.75-km Metro Cebu Expressway that would connect Danao City in the north to Naga City in the south.

Sadain disclosed that they were planning some revisions on some sections of the expressway project.

“We will be discussing thoroughly the alignment (of some portions of the expressway) with the (DPWH) regional director (Edgar Tabacon) because it only followed the barangay roads,” he told reporters.

He said there was a need to redo the design in some portions, including the areas where the property owners refused to sell their land to the government.

According to Sadain, the topography and the geological formation of the areas through which the expressway would pass had to be considered, especially that there were mountainous areas.

The project, which would be funded by the national government, was divided into three segments: Talisay-Cebu City-Mandaue (Segment 1), Consolacion-Liloan-Compostela-Danao (Segment 2), and Naga-Minglanilla (Segment 3).

But Sadain admitted that the biggest concern for the expressway project remained the road-right-of-way acquisition.

Since some property owners refused to sell their land to the government, Sadain said they had to make adjustments in the expressway alignment.

He also called on the DPWH-Central Visayas office to focus not only on the infrastructure but also on social issues to resolve problems with the road right-of-way acquisitions.

While the project would be funded through the budget allocation of the DPWH, Sadain said they were also considering opening some portions to private concessionaires.

An initial budget of P300 million was included in the 2018 General Appropriations Act. But the bigger, additional funding would be allocated to the DPWH next year, Sadain said.

Other projects being planned for Cebu include the Cebu-Bohol Link Bridge and the Negros-Cebu Inter-island Link Bridge.

The pre-feasibility study for the Cebu-Bohol Inter-island Link Bridge is ongoing and will be completed by December 2018.

The project is composed of five inter-island link bridges with a total length of 24.5 km between Cebu and Bohol.

The estimated project cost is around P600 billion which will be implemented from 2020-2026.

On the other hand, the Negros-Cebu Inter-island link bridge project involves the construction of a 5.5-km link bridge between the two islands.

The pre-feasibility study for the project was ongoing and would be done by next month.

The P150-billion project was projected to be completed in six years or from 2020 to 2026.

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