DPWH Reopens Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge, Defers Closure to January 2019
Following the public’s clamor opposing the closure of the Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge, which connects Makati City and Mandaluyong City, over the weekend, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), with the assistance of the Makati Public Safety Department (MAPSA), reopened the bridge to traffic at around 9:30 PM of September 24, with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) being informed of the development a few hours later on 5 AM of September 25.
“Due to public clamor and apprehension of the business circle that the timing and closure will cause possible huge economic loss especially this coming holiday season, we are constrained to defer the implementation of the project and decided to proceed by first week of January 2019,” DPWH project director Virgilio Castillo said in a letter dated September 24 to the MMDA.
In response, MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago said that since there are still no construction activities that concerns the bridge, the civilian contractors hired to do the job merely coordinated with the DPWH.
“Siguro sa amin ma-inform lang kami for traffic management sa major thoroughfares and for public advisory (On our part, they should have informed us for traffic management on major thoroughfares and for public advisory),” Pialago said in a text message to reporters.
The project aims to widen the bridge to four lanes from the present two lanes and is expected to be completed by 2021. As to why the government thinks that plan is astute is questionable considering that the end of the bridge on the Mandaluyong side terminates into a two-lane street, creating a bottle neck that would only create traffic in the area, which is the opposite of the new bridge’s intended goal.
The Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge is one of the two bridge projects on the Pasig River–the other being the Binondo-Intramuros span in Manila–that would be funded by China based on development assistance agreements with the Duterte administration.