Cebu-Cordova bridge to boost Central Visayas economy

(The Philippine Star) - May 1, 2016 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Infrastructure building in the Central Visayas, notably Cebu, is being pursued in earnest to match the continuing boom in this Visayan region, renowned to compete with the socio-economic growth of Manila.

A notable development is the construction of a 8.25-kilometer bridge – billed the Cebu-Cordova Bridge – which will connect bustling Cebu City with the sprawling Mactan Island.

This vision will be realized by 2020, four years from now, since significant projects such as this require years of preparation and construction. This should be the third bridge connecting Cebu City to Mactan Island, which is expected to further facilitate the movement of people and goods between the two areas.

Metro Pacific Tollways Development Corp. (MPTDC), the toll road unit of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), will be constructing the bridge as a public-private partnership (PPP) project – with Cebu City and the Municipality of Cordova as LGU partners.

The P27.9 billion project was awarded to MPTDC by both Cebu City and the Municipality of Cordova to construct, operate and maintain the bridge – after the challenge to the proposal lapsed in Dec. 7 last year. No other party submitted a counter proposal.

The new bridge is intended to decongest traffic on the two existing bridges, the Mactan-Mandaue and Marcelo Fernan Bridges, which link mainland Cebu and Mactan Island. The Cebu-Cordova Bridge will provide a much-needed additional route to the Mactan-Cebu International Airport, thereby further speeding up traffic for air and other travelers.

The project contract was signed recently following the approval of the joint venture agreement by the Sangguniang Panlungsod of the City of Cebu and the Sangguniang Bayan of the Municipality of Cordova. Such joint accord is required by the joint venture agreement.

The signatories to the agreement were Jose Ma. K. Lim, MPIC president; Rodrigo E. Franco, MPTDC president; Cebu City Mayor Michael L. Rama, and Cordova Mayor Adelino B. Sitoy.

Government resources, particularly public lands, to be used for the project, will be provided by the two LGUs. In turn, the two LGUs will receive one percent each of the gross revenues starting on the first year of bridge operations – and for the next 35 years, the life of the concession agreement. The concession period begins at the start of construction.

As planned, construction will begin in late 2017 or early 2018 – with project completion eyed by the year 2020.  The new bridge will have two lanes from each direction, and will feature the main bridge structure, a viaduct, a causeway, and roadway and toll facilities.

The 8.25-kilometer-bridge will take off from the Cebu South Coastal Road, and will cross the Mactan Channel to reach Barangay Pilipog in Cordova.

Cordova, a third income class municipality located at the southern coast of Mactan, is made up of separate islands. It is currently connected to Mactan by three local bridges.

“The bridge will greatly benefit Cordova because it will give it direct access to Cebu City,” MPTDC’s Franco said. “But more than providing travel efficiency, the Cebu-Cordova Bridge is also envisioned to further spark economic growth and productivity not only in Cebu but in the entire Region 7,” Franco said.

The bridge will help reduce, if not completely stop, economic losses due to traffic congestion, and will bolster trade activities in the area and create more job opportunities for Cebuanos, he added.

“This is in line with MPTDC’s guiding vision,” Franco said. “We build world-class highways and bridges, not just to facilitate the movement of people and goods, but to help spur socio-economic growth in the areas we serve.”

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