3rd bridge in 3 years
The third bridge linking mainland Cebu to the island of Mactan will be up by 2018.
This was announced over the weekend by Cordova Mayor Adelino Sitoy who said that the ground-breaking for the joint venture between the municipality and the Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) would probably be held in January.
MPTC – a subsidiary of the Manuel Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investments Corp. – will also need to sign a public-private partnership (PPP) agreement with the Cebu City government before actual construction could roll out.
Construction of the bridge would take three years to complete.
The two local government units have placed the review process on fast-track so that the signing of the PPP agreement could take place at the start of 2015.
Aside from the bridge, Sitoy said MPTC has also proposed to construct a causeway near the Shell Island which would lead to barangay Pilipog in Cordova where the structure starts.
The bridge will end at the mouth of the Guadalupe River near the Cebu South Coastal Road Tunnel.
The bridge is meant to absorb the expected increase in the volume of traffic as developments in Mactan Island which includes the new passenger terminal of the Mactan Cebu International Airport would be completed by 2018.
MPTC legal consultant Aristotle Batuhan welcomed the development.
“I just knew that Cebu City has already formed its Joint Venture Selection Committee. So at least they now have the mandate to review the proposal right away,” Batuhan told CDN.
Batuhan said they’re expecting an award from the LGUs by February or March next year, after which “construction will commence immediately.”
The Cebu City government is trying to catch up with Cordova in moving forward MPTC’s “unsolicited proposal”.
City Administrator Lucelle Mercado said it was only last week that Cebu City formed its Joint Venture Selection Committee (JVSC) to review the MPTC proposal. Mercado heads the panel.
In a joint meeting last Friday, the Cebu City and Cordova committees decided to pursue separate PPP agreements with MPTC.
“Right now, Cordova is a bit ahead of us. They have already reviewed the proposal but there are still some documents that the proponent hasn’t given yet. We will be doing coordination meetings with the Cordova side. We will catch up,” she said.
Mercado said that they want to finish the review of the MPTC proposal by November so they can present their findings and recommendations to Mayor Michael Rama.
“After we review, we will present it to the mayor who will then declare them (MPTC) as the original proponent. Then it will be studied further in more detail before it’s sent to the City Council for approval,” she said.
The proponents were already able to present their proposal to the City Council last August.
Part of their proposal was for a P55 toll fee for cars, passenger jeepneys and sports utility vehicles (SUVs).
The amount will be doubled for light trucks and buses and thrice for multi-axle or heavy trucks.
The amount was based on a willingness to pay survey conducted by MPTC consultancy firm Parsons Brinckerhoff. But this still has to be approved by the Toll Regulatory Board.
The P16.5 billion project will be 705 meters long with a vertical clearance of 55 meters from the highest water level to ensure that post-panamax or bigger vessels can pass through.
The MPTC pegged the share of revenues at 95-5 percent. The five percent will be equally divided between Cebu City and Cordova.
“We conducted a willingness to pay survey and we came up with an acceptable price of P55,” said Dante Bautista of Parsons Brinckerhoff, which does consulting work on the project.
The proposed third bridge will be around twice the height of the two existing Cebu-Mactan bridges.
Bautista said this is to ensure that the bridge accommodates big vessels passing under the bridge to get to and from the Cebu International Port (CIP).
It will have four lanes and will have a “generous sidewalk and for cycling.”
There also won’t be a reclamation to be done for the project. The proponents have opted to just use causeways to connect the bridge to the land.
There will also be three viaducts in the causeway “to ensure flow of current” so that fishermen, especially in Cordova town, won’t be affected.
Bautista said having a bridge as third access is much cheaper than a tunnel. He said construction of a tunnel is ten times costlier than a bridge, while its maintenance is twice as costly.
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