Cebu News

44-yr-old bridge may collapse: Works needed ASAP - DPWH

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - The Mandaue – Mactan Bridge (first bridge) will be in danger of collapsing if repair will be delayed further, the Department of Public Works and Highways told The Freeman.

“Posible gyud na mu-collapse kay daghan na kaayo na og taya ang mga poste sa bridge so kinahanglan nga madali gyud na ang iyang repair,” said DPWH-7 spokesperson Marie Nillama.

Repair of the 44-year-old, 846-meter long bridge was supposed to start in August last year but was put on hold because of the activities of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit activities here.

It was moved further back because of the holidays, the Fiesta Señor festivities, and the International Eucharistic Congress (IEC).

“First time ni nga ni-undergo og major repair ang first bridge kay daghan na gyud siya og taya. Pang-ilisan gyud na ang iyang mga kabilya,” Nillama said.

And it’s not simply wear and tear, either. On November 13, 1990, MV Sanko Elegance damaged the structure when it hit the bridge at the height of super typhoon Ruping.  

The Mandaue – Mactan Bridge was the only one connecting mainland Cebu to Mactan at that time but even so, the closure for repair did not cause too much problem among motorists because there were fewer vehicles, unlike today.

Nillama recalled that many also chose to take the ferry from Mactan to mainland Cebu and vice versa.

“Kadto nga time, bisan na-close ang bridge, di pa kaayo to developed ang Lapu-Lapu, wa pa kaayo mga hotels, resorts ug uban pa so wa kaayo to siya naka-create og traffic,” Nillama said.

Public response to the closure of one lane of the bridge to start the repair last February 8, however, was not all positive especially with the heavy traffic that resulted at the Marcelo Fernan Bridge.   DPWH then decided to open two lanes temporarily until Monday, February 15, as it discusses possible solutions to traffic with other government agencies. One of the ideas considered is the deployment of ferry boats to augment sea vessels crossing the Mactan Channel.

Nillama said it was also suggested that a new bridge be built right beside the Mandaue – Mactan Bridge so that each can be assigned to one traffic flow.

“Naay mga suggestions nga magtukod na lang og bag-o nga bridge, tapad sa first bridge. Para ang existing bridge mahimo nang one-way unya ang new bridge one way sad para mas dako na volume sa mga sakyanan ang ma accomodate,” said Nillama.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency is also studying the feasibility of building a bridge from Tayud, Consolacion to Mactan. The bridge’s end in the island will land at the Mactan Export Processing Zone in Lapu-Lapu City.

Water pipe

Meanwhile, DPWH-7 Director Ador Canlas said they have given the Metropolitan Cebu Water District until tomorrow, Friday, to come up with an action plan as regards its water distribution pipeline that will be affected once work on the deck slabs of the bridge will begin.

If the water district cannot meet the deadline, DPWH will revoke its excavation permit, Canlas said.

“It’s very risky once you demolish the deck slab,  given the fact that the support they place on that major pipe it would seem  nga hindi siya kaya, baka mahulog siya,” Canlas said earlier.

Engr. Andrew Magno, officer-in-charge of MCWD’s Engineering Department, said DPWH has denied all their plans such as adding steel that can be used as a strap to the pipe, as well as the plan to wheel the pipe to the beam of the bridge.

 MCWD informed DPWH about its pipe support project in October last year as it needs to undergo government processes that usually last from six to eight months.

 MCWD appealed to Jegma Constructions, the contractor for the bridge repair project, to also work on the pipe project but the firm declined.

 At least 60 percent of the water supply in Lapu-Lapu City and Cordova is produced by MCWD.

The 400mm (16-inch) diameter pipeline brings 12,000 cubic meters of water to half of the households and commercial establishments in Mactan Island daily.


Mario Napule, overall supervisor of Lapu-Lapu’s City Traffic Management System, said the temporary reopening of the first bridge has abated the traffic situation in the city.

“Dako kaayo ug alibyo sa trapiko ang pagbukas sa maong dalan sa Mandaue – Mactan Bridge tungod kay niloag ang maong lugar ug nawagtang gayud ang sobrang traffic,” he said.

“Atol sa ilang urgent meeting nga gipahigayon tali sa mga opisyal sa Mandaue ug DPWH, aduna kami mga options nga pagabuhaton diin 4am- 2 p.m., one way Lapu- Lapu to Mandaue, samtang 2 p.m. – 4 a.m. one way Mandaue to Lapu – Lapu,” he said.

Meanwhile, Department of Tourism –7 Director Rowena Montecillo said the traffic congestion caused the bridge’s partial closure has generated complaints from tourists whose tours experienced delays.

More tourists are expected to visit Cebu as the dry season gets near, majority of whom are expected to enter Cebu through the airport in Mactan.

The Mandaue-Mactan Bridge was constructed in 1970 and was finished two years after during the time of President Ferdinand Marcos. — /JMO (FREEMAN)

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