GLOWING. The lighted San Juanico Bridge during a dry run on Oct. 18, 2022. The Tourism Infrastructure Enterprise Zone Authority is upbeat that the lighting of San Juanico Bridge will attract more investments in Samar and Leyte provinces. (Photo courtesy of Samar Leyte Aerial)

TACLOBAN CITY – The Tourism Infrastructure Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) is upbeat that the lighting of San Juanico Bridge will attract more investments in Samar and Leyte provinces.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, TIEZA Chief Operating Officer Mark Lapid said the project, which is the first in the country, will attract more tourists to the region.

“This is a world-class project, and it exceeded our expectation. It’s about time to market the destination. Since everything is connected to tourism, it will create a positive impact in communities in Samar and Leyte provinces,” Lapid said.

The official switch on of the San Juanico Bridge Aesthetic Lighting and Sound project is scheduled on Wednesday night to be led by President Ferdinand R. Marcos and Vice President Sara Duterte.

The event will also turn over the project to the Samar provincial government which has committed to operate and maintain the aesthetic lights.

The Samar local government is a proponent of the project funded through PHP80 million outlay from TIEZA in 2018. Pandemic movement restrictions delayed the completion of the project.

On the pipeline in 2023 is the construction of boardwalks on both Samar and Leyte sides of the 2.16-kilometer bridge that links the two islands.

“Lighting the bridge is a symbol of strength after all disasters that struck the region such as Super Typhoon Yolanda and Odette. Despite of the devastations in the past years, there is sign of hope and resiliency,” Lapid said.

Department of Tourism Eastern Visayas chief Karina Rosa Tiopes said San Juanico Bridge is a must visit site for daytime visitors and the lighting project will draw guests at night.

“Those from the business sector have been planning to set up more shops near the boardwalk and this will spur economic development within the area,” Tiopes said

The San Juanico Bridge Aesthetic Lighting Project is the first of its kind in the country. The light show and colors can be customized depending on the occasion.

Although the entire bridge was installed with LED lights, it will not distract traffic flow since the lights were placed in the outer part of the bridge.

The 2.16-kilometer San Juanico Bridge is the longest bridge along the Pan-Philippine highway that connects Luzon to Mindanao.

Built in August 1969 and completed in 1972, with a span of 2.162 kilometers and connecting Samar and Leyte Island, the bridge stood many challenges with the Super Typhoon Yolanda that ravaged Eastern Visayas on Nov. 8, 2013. (PNA)