Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said Wednesday three climate-resilient bridges in Metro Manila funded by the Asian Development Bank will start construction in the first half.
The Marcos Highway-Saint Mary Ave. Bridge, Homeowner’s Drive-A Bonifacio Bridge and the Kabayani Street-Matandang Balara Bridge are due for completion in 2026. The three bridge projects will be financed through a $175.1-million (about P8.8 billion) loan from the ADB.
Dominguez said the bridges are designed to decongest Metro Manila’s traffic-heavy areas and create more jobs in the final stretch of the Duterte presidency.
The bridges spanning over 3 kilometers across the Marikina River are among the 12 to be built under the Metro Manila Bridges Project.
Dominguez and ADB managing director general Woochong Um exchanged copies of the loan documents for the construction of the three bridges in ceremonies at the Department of Finance office in Manila.
“These bridges are crucial components of the ‘Build, Build, Build’ program that will help our economy bounce back from the adverse effects of the pandemic. With their high multiplier effect and job-generating potential, investments in infrastructure will be the engine for our rapid economic recovery,” Dominguez said.
Dominguez said a key design feature of the three ADB-funded bridges is their ability to absorb strong earthquake shocks and reduce flood risks in the area, making them climate- and disaster-resilient.
Um described the project as a “milestone for the Philippines’ ‘Build, Build, Build’ program.”
“Now, we are seeing the beginning of the end of the pandemic, we hope. And the signing [of the loan agreement] comes at a critical time. We must continue investments in infrastructure now, which is essential for securing strong economic development in 2022, and this comes from a very strong [Philippine] rebound of 5.6 percent economic growth last year,” Um said.
Among the big-ticket infrastructure projects that the ADB supported through its financing assistance for “Build, Build, Build” totaling $2.3 billion are the Malolos-Clark Railway, the Improving Growth Corridors in Mindanao Road Sector, the EDSA Greenways and the Angat Water Transmission Improvement.
The lifting of pandemic-related restrictions saw the return of traffic congestion in Metro Manila starting this year.
Dominguez said that although there are already 30 bridges across major waterways of Metro Manila, these are insufficient to efficiently move vehicular traffic, leading the Duterte administration to plan the construction of 12 more iconic bridges in Metro Manila over the medium term.
The loan for the three bridges was approved by the ADB in December last year and became effective on Feb. 10, 2022.