THE geotechnical survey to gather data for the design and construction of the P7.38 billion Panguil Bay Bridge in Northern Mindanao has been fast-tracked and is expected to be complete by December this year, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said.

In a statement, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark A. Villar said the engineering design preparation of the 3.7-kilometer bridge is ongoing, and once completed the bridge will connect Tangub City in Misamis Occidental and the town of Tubod in Lanao del Norte.

The bridge is expected to cut travel time between the two areas to seven minutes from the previous two and a half hours.

“Panguil Bay Bridge is a realization of the promise to make Filipinos even more connected by building a mega bridge that will provide convenient inter-island travel in the archipelagic topography of Northern Mindanao,” Mr. Villar said.

During an offshore inspection at Panguil Bay, DPWH Undersecretary Emil K. Sadain said once the design of the bridge is finalized, civil works to construct it may immediately begin in the first quarter of 2021.

Mr. Sadain said that 23 more borehole test analyses from 45 geotechnical tests are needed to be performed to ensure reliable references for the bridge’s final design.

“The result of this geotechnical investigation onshore and offshore as well as bathymetric data from the study of the underwater depth of ocean floors is vital to ensuring that the Panguil Bay Bridge is built on good foundations with high strength to weight ratio,” Mr. Sadain said.

Once completed, the 3.7-kilometer bridge will be the longest in the Philippines. It will surpass the length of San Juanico Bridge in Eastern Visayas which is 2.17 kilometers long.

Funds for the construction project came from a loan agreement between the Philippine government and Korean Export Import Bank. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave