By Anna Mae Yu Lamentillo
President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday, April 10, witnessed the signing of six bilateral agreements following their bilateral meeting held in Hainan, China, including an accord on economic and technical cooperation providing for a $79-million grant for at least four other projects undertaken by the Philippine government in cooperation with China.
The Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation, which was signed by Department of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Chinese Ministry of Commerce Minister Zhong Shan, involves a 500 million renminbi grant (approximately $79 million or P4.13 billion) to finance the following projects and activities: 1) the Binondo-Intramuros and Estrella Pantaleon bridges in Metro Manila of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), 2) the feasibility study for the Davao City Expressway Project of DPWH, 3) the provision of radio and broadcasting equipment to the Presidential Communications Operations Office, and 4) the Philippine-Sino Center for Agricultural Technology-Technical Cooperation Program Phase III of the Department of Agriculture.
The Binondo-Intramuros Bridge is a P4.607-billion steel bow-string arch bridge, spanning 807 meters, with intersecting reclining arches connecting Intramuros (at Solana Street and Riverside Drive) and Binondo (at San Fernando Street) while the Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge is a P1.367-billion 4-lane bridge which is expected to increase road network capacity of Estrella St. in Makati and Barangka Drive in Mandaluyong. The project is set to begin this year and will be completed in 2021.
Exchange of Letters for the Pre-Feasibility Study of the Proposed 23-km Davao City Expressway Project was also signed by Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar and Chinese Ministry of Commerce Minister Zhong Shan.
When completed, the expressway is expected to decongest traffic in Davao City, ease access to Sta. Ana Port and other suburban areas, and complement proposed high-standard highway projects for Mindanao.
Under the proposed initial plan of DPWH, the Davao City Expressway will be implemented in three (3) phases.
Phase 1 is an elevated viaduct which has an estimated length of 8.45 km and starts at the intersection of Leon Garcia St. and Monteverde St. and at junction to Sta. Ana Port. It traverses along Quezon Blvd.,passing through numerous intersections and then turning northwest before reaching the Bolton Bridge up to the upstream of the Davao River until it terminates at the existing Davao City Diversion Road near the Davao River Bridge in Brgy. Ma-a.
The second phase is also an elevated viaduct with an estimated length of 8.35 km which starts at the intersection of Daang Maharlika and Davao City Diversion Road in Brgy. Panacan, traverses the existing alignment of the Davao City Diversion Road and ends at the Davao River Bridge in Brgy. Ma-a.
Phase 3 on the other hand which is proposed to start at the end point of Phase 1 and Phase 2 will be a new road opening almost parallel to the existing diversion road and moves to west direction and then southwest direction until it terminates at the Davao City Diversion Road near Catalunan Grande Road.