THE Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said it expects the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to approve financing for the Bataan-Cavite Interlink Bridge (BCIB) project by November.

The DPWH cited a report from Undersecretary Emil K. Sadain that an ADB fact-finding mission will appraise “overall project readiness prior to the preparation of loan agreement for the 32-kilometer BCIB project.”

The ADB and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) had committed to co-finance the civil works associated with the bridge, which is targeted to start by 2024, according to the DPWH.

The ADB has estimated the first tranche of the financing package to be worth $1 billion, with $650 million to be provided by the ADB and $350 million by the AIIB. The cost of the project has been estimated at P175.66 billion. 

The 32.15-kilometer four-lane bridge crosses Manila Bay from barangay Alas-asin, Mariveles, Bataan to Barangay Timalan, Naic, Cavite.

The DPWH will also be building the North and South Channel Bridges that will facilitate ship navigation. They are expected to span 400 meters and 900 meters, respectively.

The project will be divided into seven contract packages. The first two will involve the construction of a five-kilometer Bataan Land Approach and a 1.35-kilometer Cavite Land Approach to the crossing.

Packages 3 and 4 will cover marine viaducts in the north and south, while packages 5 and 6 are the north and south channel bridges. The last package will include the project-wide ancillary works.

The DPWH said that the final design of the BCIB includes a long cable-stayed bridge at the south channel with tower height set at 380 meters above sea level.

The bridge is expected to reduce travel time between the provinces of Bataan and Cavite to 45 minutes from the current five and a half hours. — Justine Irish D. Tabile