The MMDA says the final date of the Estrella-Pantaleon bridge closure is January 19
The STAR/Edd Gumban, File photo
Estrella-Pantaleon bridge closure postponed to January 19 
Ryan Macasero (Philstar.com) - January 11, 2019 - 3:45pm

MANILA, Philippines — The closure of the Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge, originally scheduled for January 12, will "definitely" happen next Saturday, January 19, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority said Friday.

This is the second postponement of the closure of the bridge that connects Rockwell in Makati City to Barangay Barangka Ibaba in Mandaluyong City. 

The MMDA estimates at least 35,000 daily use the bridge daily, while other estimates peg the number of cars that use the bridge daily at as high as 100,000.

The bridge was closed temporarily in September, when widening work was supposed to begin, but was rescheduled for Saturday, January 12, to give way to the holiday season, which usually experience heavier traffic. 

MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia reassured the public during a press conference Friday afternoon that the closure will “definitely” push through on January 19.

"What we’re going to do starting Monday — I'm giving order to our task force operations group to clear all roads in our alternate routes,” Garcia said in a mix of Filipino and English. 

“Our campaign against illegal parking will be enforced, right now fines are at 1,000 for attended vehicles, and P2,000 for unattended vehicles,” he added. “Move your cars away from areas around the bridges. Obstructions and illegal vendors, will [also] be cleared.”

Metro Manila’s top traffic chief said signs will be placed to guide motorists on where to re-route, and enforcers will be around to ensure traffic is moving. 

Most motorists who use the bridge will have to re-route to the EDSA-Guadalupe Bridge, or Makati-Mandaluyong Bridge, which connects Barangay Poblacion in Makati City and Barangay Hulo in Mandaluyong City.

Garcia said that while the bridge is sturdy enough to handle the volume of vehicles that currently use the bridge, the annual increase in the number of vehicles and the need to retrofit the structure require the expansion of the bridge to four lanes. 

The project contractor, China Road and Bridge Corp., said the new bridge — which costs an estimated P1.3 billion —  will take at least 30 months to complete. 

Poe: Project a 'case of a bridge we do not need'

Sen. Grace Poe, chairperson of Senate public services committee, said in a statement Friday that the project is a “case of a bridge that we do not need.” 

She added that the bridge will “inconvenience many for a long time, and is being built by a company who after being banned by the World Bank for bungling a road project here became part of the massive land reclamation in the West Philippine Sea.” 

According to a report in The STAR last April, the company signed a contract for P5.27 for the Pantaleon-Estrella and Binondo-Intramuros bridges.

Poe said she shared observations by “many groups” that the advantages of having a four-lane bridge are negated when both ends of the bridge are bottlenecked by two-lane roads.

The bridge project is part of the larger Metro Manila Logistics Improvement Network, which looks to better interconnect towns split by rivers in Metro Manila with 12 new bridges which will cross the Pasig River, Marikina River and Manggahan Floodway. 

ESTRELLA BRIDGE JOJO GARCIA MAKATI MANDALUYONG MMDA
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