The 30-month closure of a bridge connecting the cities of Makati and Mandaluyong, which is set to start this month, can affect about 40,000 vehicles daily, diverting them to inner streets and aggravating traffic conditions.
In a hearing held on Wednesday by the House committee on Metro Manila development, Director Virgilio Castillo of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) explained why Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge already needed replacement even though it was opened only nine years ago.
Castillo gave Sept. 20 as the tentative date of the closure, but said it could still be moved as the DPWH was still in talks with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to come up with better traffic management plans addressing the expected gridlock.
No more delay
The DPWH official explained that work on Estrella-Pantaleon could no longer be postponed, after Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice took note of the timing and warned that it would worsen traffic conditions in the capital heading into the holiday season.
“We’re aware that the bridges’ closure could affect thousands, which is why we need to complete it sooner so it could be usable to the public,” he said.
Asked by Erice why the bridge already needed replacement despite being less than a decade old, Castillo said the bridge was designed to have a maximum capacity of 20,000 vehicles daily—since it was only intended to be part of an alternative route—but eventually it was used by up to nearly double that volume.
From 2 lanes to 4
The two-lane bridge will have to be torn down completely and replaced by a new, four-lane structure costing P1.4 billion, he added.
The Estrella-Pantaleon was one of the two bridge projects on the Pasig River — the other being the Binondo-Intramuros span in Manila — \that would be funded by China based on development assistance agreements with the Duterte administration.
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