TACLOBAN CITY – At least 25 bridges in Eastern Visayas (Region 8) have been identified for replacement and repair based on this year’s assessment, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) reported on Wednesday.

DPWH Eastern Visayas Regional Director Edgar Tabacon said these bridges would be prioritized for funding in 2023 to ensure the safety of motorists.

“Structural integrity of these bridges was examined though our regular bridge management system (BMS). The result of BMS will be the basis in the allocation of maintenance fund in 2023 to repair these deteriorated bridges,” Tabacon told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in an interview.

The latest bridge inventory result was released in September 2022.

The most critical bridge in the region is Gandara Bridge in Gandara, Samar classified as “bad” and not passable, prompting motorists to use another bridge on a nearby diversion road.

The bridge needs PHP275 million to carry out replacement activities.

Also, on the top 10 list of bridges in critical conditions are Raquiza, Hamindangon, Bao, Valencia and Catayum in Leyte province; Taft, Can-obing and Sulat in Eastern Samar; and Esperanza in Biliran.

Other bridges in the top 25 priority list for rehabilitation include Baliacao, Rizal, Hibuga, Elizabeth, and Kiga in Leyte; Pagbabangnan, Macabut, and Binacalan in Eastern Samar; Quezon, Laurel, and Abolayon in Northern Samar; Nacube, Lambigue, and Nijaga in Samar; and Pangalkagan in Southern Leyte.

Among the proposed work to improve the condition of these bridges include the reconstruction of the deck slab, repair of bridge approaches, widening, replacement of corroded bearings, and replacement of expansion joints.

Currently, Eastern Visayas has 899 bridges along national highways with a total length of 35.82 kilometers.

The DPWH has emphasized the need to repair bridges with deteriorating conditions following the recent Carlos P. Romulo Bridge collapse in Bayambang, Pangasinan on October 20.

Last April, the collapse of Clarin Bridge Loay in Bohol resulted in four people’s deaths and injured 15 others. (PNA)