Jica to inspect proposed locations of 4th bridge
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Experts from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) will be inspecting the proposed locations of the 4th Cebu-Mactan bridge.
This developed after several members of Mactan’s business sector reiterated their opposition to connect the bridge directly to the Airport Road in Lapu-Lapu City.
Representatives from Jica, the Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH), and the business community in Metro Cebu held a virtual meeting last September 10 to further discuss the Detailed Engineer Design (DED) of the P76 billion project.
According to a press release from stakeholders affected by the proposal, DPWH and Jica promised to conduct site inspections on the proposed locations of the bridge’s landing points.
They are expected to visit the proposed locations of the 4th bridge within the next two or three weeks, the statement reported.
A recorded copy of the one-hour virtual session was also sent to members of the media.
In the meeting, several owners of business establishments in Lapu-Lapu City requested project proponents to move the landing site of the bridge to areas away from commercial districts.
As a result, executives from Jica and DPWH agreed on putting the DED stage of the project on hold until further public consultations and inspections would be made.
“There should be a realignment of the original plan of DPWH to connect the 4th Cebu-Mandaue bridge straight into the Airport Road,” said Efrain Pelaez, Jr. of Mactan Marina Mall.
“We are in one mind and we have talked with the PEZA (Philippine Economic Zone Authority) people and they also believed it (4th bridge) would not be disruptive of commercial activities,” he added.
Business establishments in Lapu-Lapu City have been vocal on their calls for project proponents of the 4th bridge to reconsider the locations of the landing sites.
They urged authorities to move the bridge away from commercial districts and proposed to have its landing site on a vacant lot along M.L Quezon National Highway.
They also pointed out that linking it with the Airport Road would not solve traffic congestion reported within the vicinities of Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) and the Mactan Economic Processing Zone (MEPZ).
But according to Jiichi Ohashi from Oriental Consultants Global Co. Ltd, which Jica hired to undertake the DED phase, relocating the bridge’s landing sites would be more costly.
Ohashi also confirmed to stakeholders during the meeting that the detailed engineering study of the 4th bridge already began in December 2020.
“Options 3 and Options 4 need quite a lot of funding… They (Philippine and Japanese governments) agreed to go with Option 1. And it is going to be eventually connected to the coastal road so the traffic issue that the City claims or is worried about is not caused by our construction,” said Ohashi.
The Cebu 4th bridge is being funded by the Japanese government that granted the Philippines loans amounting to a total of 154 billion yen, or roughly P73 billion for the construction of the big-ticket project.
It was designed to connect Umapad in Mandaue City with the Lapu-Lapu City Airport Road.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) crafted a study in 2018 suggesting the creation of a fourth bridge linking the islands of mainland Cebu and Mactan.
The proposal was meant to alleviate traffic woes in Metro Cebu, particularly in the existing two bridges.
A third bridge is currently being constructed that will connect the southern part of Cebu City to Cordova town, also in Mactan Island.
In their report, JICA has earlier announced the funding for the 4th Cebu-Mactan Bridge will be made through foreign assistance.
The project is composed of two components- the 402-meter linear bridge and the Mandaue Coastal Road.
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