Ayala Bridge rehab to go on until December
After an unannounced closure over the weekend which led to heavy traffic in nearby areas, Ayala Bridge in Manila will partially reopen on Oct. 1, but only to accommodate light vehicles.
According to Freyssinet International Manila Inc. engineer Alexander Gros, the bridge had to be shut down to give way to further “strengthening.”
Heavy vehicles will be allowed on the bridge by the end of October after work on top of the structure is finished, he added.
Gros said, however, that work on the understructure of the bridge would continue although it was expected to remain open to all types of vehicles. The targeted completion date is Dec. 23.
Ricardo de Vera, an engineer of the Department of Public Works and Highways’ (DPWH) Planning and Design Division, said that work on the bridge would be halted for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in November.
According to De Vera, the bridge was undergoing rehabilitation, upgrading and retrofitting to make it quake-resistant.
The Ayala Bridge, constructed in the 1940s, has a load limit of 20 tons. Around 35,000 vehicles use the bridge daily. According to Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chair Francis Tolentino who inspected the bridge on Monday, several heads of state would be passing by the structure during the Apec summit.
The P447.9-million rehabilitation project started on March 21 to make it quake-resistant, according to De Vera. In April, they started raising the bridge by 70 centimeters so that barges plying the Pasig River would not hit the structure at high tide, he said.
The bridge was reopened in July following a delay of over three months. On Sunday, it was closed without any warning with the contractor saying they needed to do more strengthening. The sudden closure led to heavy traffic that extended to Quirino Avenue, the Nagtahan area and Osmeña Highway.
The closure took the MMDA by surprise, prompting Tolentino to conduct a check on Monday.
“Apparently, they are rushing the bridge to meet the Apec deadline…. We have to inform the public [to take alternate routes],” he added.
Gros also apologized for closing the bridge without proper coordination with the MMDA and DPWH.
According to Frey-Fil Corp. deputy manager Jerick Casiño, dismantling and installation of posttension materials and dampers were ongoing “for the bridge to achieve its full capacity.”
“We need to expedite all the activities on top of the bridge before the Apec this mid-November and complete the rehabilitation by end of October,” Gros said.
He added that the dampers were delivered to the project site only last Saturday.
The bridge, which runs across the Pasig River and connects the Ermita and San Miguel districts, is being rehabilitated by Frey-Fil Corp. (sister company of Freyssinet) and EEI Corp.
Tolentino, meanwhile, requested the contractor to return the lamps they dismantled so that Ayala Bridge would be properly lighted for the Apec summit.
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