November 24, 2017, 4:52 pm
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A dozen bridges

ONE reason for the snail-paced movement of vehicles in Metro Manila and the resulting traffic congestion is the capital’s geography. There’s just to many rivers, streams, canals, esteros and floodways to cross.

Take the case of Pasig City. Long before traffic experts proffered solutions to the traffic problems of Pasig, ex-mayor Vicente Eusebio had already realized the problem. Not only one river runs through it, but three. There’s Pasig River and Marikina River, and the man-made Manggahan Floodway had to be constructed during the time of President Ferdinand Marcos to pump water away from the Malacanang Palace-Sta. Mesa area, and into Laguna Lake.

Eusebio’s solution was to build bridges. So years before President Duterte’s “Build, build, build” program, Pasig City under Eusebio constructed one bridge after another, connecting the city to Cainta, Pateros, Taguig, Makati City, Quezon City, and Marikina City. 

These bridges are Eusebio’s legacy, and without them traffic in Pasig City, Makati, Taguig, Pateros and Quezon City, problematic as they are now, would be three or four times more horrendous.

The governments of President Rodrigo Duterte and President Xi Jinping are taking the cue from the Pasig City solution, and they are planning to build, repair, redesign and refurbish 12 bridges in Metro Manila, several spanning the Pasig River.

This was announced by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) officials at the Philippines-China Economic Forum held at the Tower Club in Makati the whole day yesterday. It was organized by the Philippine Association for Chinese Studies and Integrated Development Studies Institute led by George Siy.

China will donate two bridges -- the Intramuros-Binondo bridge and the Makati-Pasig bridge in barangay Kapitolyo. The one in Manila might have a groundbreaking when Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang arrives next week to attend the Asean and East Asian summits in Manila and Pampanga.

The Intramuros-Binondo bridge is a 807-linear meter span called Iconic bridge by reason of its design. It will have a viaduct adjacent to Muelle de Binondo, and will connect Solano St. in Intramuros to San Fernando St. in Binondo, and ease traffic in Jones bridge and Escolta.

Chinese concessional loans are also targeted to finance the widening of the Estrella-Pantaleon bridge, the one that connects barangay Barangka in Mandaluyong with Estrella St. in Makati. It will be widened to accommodate four lanes. 

Also in the pipeline are repairs and upgrading of the Lambingan bridge, Manggahan, Marikina, and others -- a total of 10 more bridges.

These are the concrete benefits for Metro Manila commuters and motorists that we stand to derive from the forthcoming visit of Premier Li Keqiang. We can only thank China for this gesture of genuine friendship.
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