Samar-Luzon bridge up for full-blown study: NEDA

By Sarwell Meniano

August 30, 2018, 4:40 pm

TACLOBAN CITY -- The proposed 18.2-kilometer bridge connecting Samar to the main island of Luzon has been highly considered for full-blown feasibility study in the next 12 months, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has reported.

NEDA Regional Director Bonifacio Uy on Friday said experts recommended the conduct of feasibility study after months of preliminary surveys and assessments.

“The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has contracted Ove Arup & Partners Hong Kong Ltd. (Arup) to help prepare feasibility studies and detailed engineering designs for this new inter-island bridge,” Uy told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

Uy said the government has tapped Arup to proceed with the study within the year, given its 40 years of experience in mega transport projects. Its local partners are DCCD Engineering Corp. and EcosysCorp.

The Sorsogon-Samar project with an estimated PHP375-billion cost, consists of three long span bridges -- Allen to San Antonio in Northern Samar, San Antonio to Capul in Northern Samar, and Capul, Northern Samar to Matnog, Sorsogon.

Under the proposal, the project is a four-lane cable-stayed bridge, a permanent solution to the perennial problem of stranding during weather disturbances and port congestion during peak season. A cable-stayed bridge has one or more towers, from which cables support the bridge deck.

For decades, roll-on roll-off (RoRo) ferries cross the San Bernardino Strait, carrying passengers and vehicles to and from Allen Port and Matnog Port in Sorsogon. With a distance of 28 kilometers, the average travel time is one hour and 30 minutes.

The long-span bridge and seven other mega infrastructure projects were listed as priority in the Infrastructure Preparation and Innovation Facility supported by the Asian Development Bank through a USD100-million loan.

Other projects included as priority in the study are the North Eastern Luzon Expressway, Bataan-Cavite Interlink Bridge, Panay-Guimaras-Negros Island Link, Samal Island-Davao City Connector Bridge, Laguna Lakeshore Road Network, Cebu-Bohol Link Bridge, and Negros-Cebu Link Bridge.

Aside from Samar-Sorsogon Bridge, officials in the region are also pushing for long bridges connecting Leyte and Bohol and Southern Leyte and Surigao. (PNA)