MANILA, Philippines — It’s official. The controversial closure of the Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge, which connects the cities of Makati and Mandaluyong, will push through on Saturday, Jan. 19, despite motorists’ complaints and public outcry.
“January 19, by 4 a.m. it will be closed down, definite na po ito wala nang atrasan (this is definite we cannot back out),” Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) General Manager Jojo Garcia said in a press briefing on Friday.
Garcia made the announcement after the MMDA and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) decided to move the 30-month closure of the bridge a week from its original date on Jan. 12 to inform and prepare motorists about the expected traffic gridlocks in the area.
The closure was supposed to start last September but was deferred due to “public clamor.”
The DPWH said the project, which aims to widen the bridge to four lanes from from two lanes, will be completed in 2021.
Garcia noted that starting next week, MMDA will intensify its efforts in clearing designated alternate routes to help ease traffic congestion in the vicinity of the Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge.
“Starting Monday, I’m giving orders to our task force to clear all roads dito po sa ating (here in the) alternate routes. ‘Yung ating kampanya sa illegal parking mas lalo nating papatindihin ‘yan (Our campaign against illegal parking will be intensified). All obstructions, illegal vendors etc. will be cleared,” he said.
With the bridge closed for 30 months, MMDA released a simple rerouting guidelines, essentially telling motorists to either take the Edsa-Guadalupe Bridge, C5-Road, or the Makati-Mandaluyong Bridge.
Garcia also said that from a nine-minute trip through the Estrella-Pantaleon bridge, motorists will now have to allot an additional 30 minutes to one hour travel time due to the closure.
The MMDA chief said the reconstruction of a new bridge will “make it apt” for a highly urbanized city like Metro Manila. /ee
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