Ilocos’ iconic Old Quirino Bridge not spared from Typhoon Egay’s wrath
The Old Quirino Bridge, also known as the Banaoang Bridge, in Ilocos Sur was not spared from the wrath of Super Typhoon Egay (international name: Doksuri), which struck hard on Wednesday, July 26, destroying the iconic structure.
In a video posted by social media user Barbie Caliva, the raging waters of the Abra River can be seen reaching the level of the bridge that connects the towns of Santa and Bantay, leaving its iconic “One Ilocos Sur” nature light show signage destroyed.
According to the Philippine Information Agency of Ilocos Sur’s Facebook post, the Provincial Tourism and Development Office (PTDO) led by officer John Noel Andaya checked on the bridge on Thursday, July 27.
It said the relentless heavy rainfall from Typhoon Egay resulted in “high water elevation and strong river current” that swept away two spans of the bridge, along with the light show equipment attached to it.
Fortunately, the light show’s control center remained undamaged.
Social media user Christian Garcia Valdez of CGV The Explorer’s Facebook page also posted aerial photos showing the river’s discolored waters and the typhoon’s devastating impact on the Banaoang Bridge.
“Nalungkot po ako kasi ang tulay [po na ito] ang isa sa [iconic symbols] ng Ilocos Sur. Diyan madalas nag-stopover at [nagpapa-picture] ang mga turistang bumabyahe papuntang Vigan City,” he told the Inquirer in an interview.
(“I felt sad because this bridge is one of the iconic symbols of Ilocos Sur. Tourists traveling to Vigan City often make a stopover here and take pictures.”)
Sad end of historic Quirino Bridge
Before this untimely destruction, Super Typhoon Feria, which struck Northern Luzon in July 2001, had also damaged and washed away a portion of the then four-span bridge, which had been attracting many tourists to Ilocos Sur.
The 456-meter steel arch Banaoang Bridge was officially opened to the public by then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in December 2009, following a series of reconstructions and development.
Aside from bridges, the Department of Public Works and Highways reported on Friday, July 28, that six roads in the Ilocos Region and Cagayan Valley remained closed to traffic for maintenance, repair and clearing operations following the impact of Typhoon Egay.
Furthermore, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said in its latest report that Egay caused a trail of devastation in several parts of the country, affecting over half a million people and leaving many homes and livelihoods in ruins, particularly in Northern Luzon.
It added that the typhoon’s strong winds and torrential rains impacted 582,288 people in 45 provinces across 13 regions.
As of this writing, Egay reportedly caused a massive impact on agriculture, with initial damage estimated at P832.8 million. Estimated damage to infrastructure, meanwhile, was valued at P1.2 billion. /ra