JICA representatives to visit Tacloban City for planned P9.2-B bridge project
TACLOBAN CITY — Japan International Cooperative Agency (JICA) representatives are scheduled to visit this city next week to conduct their inspection on a proposed P9.2 billion bridge project that will further connect the islands of Leyte and Samar.
The proposed bridge project, to be known as Janbatas Bridge, will serve as an alternative to the existing San Juanico Bridge, which connects the major islands of Eastern Visayas, Engr. Edgar Tabacon, the regional director of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), said.
“The JICA representatives will be (coming next week) to do an ocular inspection and to gather data with regards to the bridge construction,” he said.
Tentatively, the JICA people will be here for three days starting on March 19.
The proposed 1.2 km Janbatas Bridge will start at Barangay Guintigui-an in Babatngon town on the Leyte side and end at Barangay San Pascual, Sta. Rita town, on the Samar side.
The proposed four-lane bridge will cross the Janbatas Channel, a portion of the San Juanico Strait that separates the two major islands of Eastern Visayas.
Tabacon said the feasibility study on the proposed project has already been approved by their central office to oversee the project funded by JICA in the amount of P9.2 billion. The study also disclosed that the proposed bridge could accommodate 9,100 vehicles daily.
The DPWH official also said that he could not say when the project would commence, saying this information would be known after the visit of the JICA representative.
“The Janbatas Bridge will be an alternative road for the increasing number of motorists passing through the San Juanico Bridge,” he said.
The iconic San Juanico Bridge was built during the administration of former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. as his ‘gift’ to his wife, Imelda, who is from Leyte.
The 50-year-old bridge will be undergoing some retrofitting.
Tabacon said that when it was built, it was designed to handle up to 38 tons of vehicles, but now, vehicles weighing up to 50 tons pass the bridge.
“The bridge is old and needs some repair. So we have to conduct retrofitting to ensure that the San Juanico Bridge will be structurally fit again,” he said.