By Betheena Kae Unite
A series of inter-island bridge projects that aim to connect Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao through long-span bridges are being mulled, Public Works and Highways Chief Mark Villar bared Friday.
A total of 16 short and long-span bridges starting from Bataan in Luzon to Tawi-Tawi in Mindanao are being studied under the Build Build Build program, Villar said as he spoke at the Pre-SONA 2018 Forum held in Pasay City.
The proposed bridges include Bataan-Cavite Interlink Bridge (28 kilometers), Mindoro-Batangas Super Bridge (15 kilometers), Camarines-Catanduanes Friendship Bridge (10.7 kilometers), Luzon (Sorsogon)-Samar Link Bridge (18.2 kilometers), Panay-Guimaras-Negros Link Bridge (19.2 kilometers), 4th Mandaue-Mactan Bridge (0.42 kilometer), Cebu-Bohol Link Bridge (24.5 kilometers), Bohol-Leyte Link Bridge (22 kilometers), Leyte-Surigao Link Bridge (23 kilometers), Negros-Cebu Link Bridge (5.5 kilometers), Panguil Bay Bridge (3.77 kilometers), Guicam Bridge (0.44 kilometer), Davao-Samal Bridge (4.4 kilometers), and three Tawi-tawi Bridges spanning a total of 0.78 kilometer.
Out of the 16 proposed bridges, the Panguil Bay Bridge is now on its final conceptual design and will start on the third quarter of the year, according to Villar.
Panguil Bay Bridge will connect Tangub City, Misamis Occidental, and Tubod, Lanao Del Norte. Once completed, travel time will be reduced from two and a half hours to 10 minutes.
It is expected to be completed by 2021.
The rest of the proposed projects, on the other hand, are now under feasibility studies, Villar said.
“We are on the planning stage. All feasibility studies will be finished by late this year or early next year. So marami pong naka-pipeline na projects (Many projects are being prepared),” Villar said.
According to the secretary, the feasibility studies will determine projects that are viable for implementation.
“We will decide (once the feasibility studies are done) which project is viable or may not be economically viable but if it might be economically viable, eventually magde-decide din kami depende sa cost (we will decide depending on the cost),” Villar said.
He furthered that the allocation for the projects are yet to be decided until the projects appear to be viable.
The Philippines, according to Villar, may also need to seek help from its neighboring countries in terms of fund and ideas.
“We have different methods (in getting funds), we can (get help from the) private sectors, it might be from overseas assistance and be locally funded,” he said.
“Because of the technology of the bridges, kailangan natin ng cooperation sa ating mga neighbors kasi sila naman ang may (we need the cooperation of our neighbors because they have) experience in inter-island bridges,” he added saying that they might tap the assistance of Japan, China, and other countries.
He mentioned that the Philippines’ longest bridge San Juanico Bridge spans to 2.16 kilometer unlike the proposed bridges, which mostly span to 20 kilometers.
“Our longest bridge is two kilometers long unlike ng mga (proposed) inter-island projects that reach as far as 20 kilometers, so kailangan talaga ng (we really need) foreign technologies,” Villar said.
He added that the feasibility studies are funded through the Asian Development Bank.