THE Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) announced that the Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge which links Makati City and Mandaluyong City will be closed starting on Jan. 19 for three years of reconstruction.
The bridge was initially scheduled to close on Jan. 12. Prior to that, the bridge was closed for two days on September last year, but it was reopened for the Yuletide season upon the request of the MMDA.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will spearhead the reconstruction of the bridge.
MMDA General Manager Jose Arturo S. Garcia, Jr. said that it will be a total replacement. The new bridge will be made to handle more vehicles that traverse between Makati and Mandaluyong.
“Total replacement ang gagawin (It will be a total replacement)… This bridge is only two way, kaso ’yung capacity niya hindi na kaya ’yung 35,000 na dumadaan in an average [day] (it does not have the capacity to handle the average of 35,000 vehicles that pass through it a day). It’s not just the safety, it is about widening it to cater [to] more [vehicles],” said Mr. Garcia in a press briefing on Friday, Jan. 11.
Mr. Garcia said that from its current two lanes, the bridge will have four lanes and sidewalks after the reconstruction.
Aside from the volume of the vehicles that pass through the bridge, the MMDA also cited safety concerns about the bridge, citing the need to prepare for a possible high-magnitude earthquake in the future.
“’Yung Philvolcs, nagkaroon tayo ng study diyan. Matibay siya, pero hindi siya designed for a highly urbanized area,” said Mr. Garcia. (The Philvolcs [Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology] had a study about the bridge. It is sturdy but it is not designed for a highly urbanized area.)
He added, “They really need to widen it at patibayan rin. Alam naman natin yung natural disasters hindi natin alam kung kailan darating ’yan.” (They really need to widen it and strengthen it. We all know that natural disasters are unpredictable.)
With the closure, motorists’ travel time between the cities could increase to 30 minutes to an hour, from the usual 10-minute drive when using the bridge.
Mr. Garcia said the replacement of the bridge, also known as Rockwell Bridge, will take 30 months.
The reconstruction of the bridge is part of the government’s flagship “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure project and is funded by the Chinese government with a budget of P1.47 billion.
The Estrella-Pantaleon bridge will be closed starting at 4 a.m. on Jan. 19.
On Monday, Jan. 14, the MMDA will start road clearing operations along the alternate routes which are as follows:
• All vehicles coming from the Cities of Mandaluyong, San Juan ,and Quezon City using the Mabuhay Lane (Sgt. Bumatay and Barangka Drive) must take right at Pantaleon, then Coronado, then take the Makati-Mandaluyong Bridge to their destination.
• Vehicles coming from Maysilo and San Francisco should go straight ahead to Coronado and the Makati-Mandaluyong Bridge to their destination.
• Other vehicles coming from Mandaluyong going to the Makati Business Center via EDSA can turn at the Guadalupe Cloverleaf to J.P. Rizal Ave. Extension, then turn left at Estrella towards their destination.
• All exiting vehicles from TIVOLI Garden Residences shall use the back gate located at the private road (Sen. N. Gonzales Road).
• All vehicles coming from Makati Ave. should take P. Burgos (which will be made a one way street), straight to the Makati-Mandaluyong Bridge, then Coronado, then San Francisco, then they can take the Mabuhay Lane to their destination.
• Vehicles coming from Rockwell can take Estrella then turn right at Gumamela St., then left at Camia St. to J.P. Rizal, then on to their destination.
• Public utility jeeps (PUJ) and tricycles shall be diverted to the Private Road (Sen. N. Gonzales Road) and vice versa. — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras