By Jel Santos
The Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge, also known as Rockwell Bridge, is set to be closed Saturday, but the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has asserted that there is nothing wrong with the vital link between the cities of Makati and Mandaluyong.
MMDA General Manager Jose Arturo Garcia maintained that the Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge, which has traffic of 35,000 vehicles daily, was “structurally sound and safe.”
Garcia said Friday that the MMDA raised this concern in a recent meeting with the Department of Public Highways (DPWH) which will be undertaking the reconstruction of the bridge which will take 30 months to complete.
“It’s really the call of DPWH. We are just here to give alternate routes that the public can use during the construction of the bridge,” said Garcia.
Garcia admitted that he was informed by the DPWH that the bridge was still safe, but it cannot withstand the “Big One,” which is the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that can possibly hit the metropolis.
“[The bridge] is safe. But not stable daw for the ‘Big One’ if ever lumindol na[n]g malakas, according to DPWH. (The bridge is safe. But not stable for the ‘Big One),'” he said.
Only recently, former MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino pointed out that reconstruction of the bridge was not necessary as its closure would cause heavy traffic congestion.
Tolention had suggested to build another bridge instead.
Once completed, the new bridge is projected to be able to accommodate more than 50,000 vehicles daily.
The project is being funded by China.
The MMDA has already designated alternate routes for the duration of the 30-month reconstruction of the bridge.