The Department of Public Works and Highways in the region reported that the feasibility study for the construction of a new bridge connecting Leyte and Samar Islands would be out next year. The completion of a new San Juanico Bridge II project will help decongest the ‘original’ San Juanico Bridge.(ROEL T. AMAZONA)

TACLOBAN CITY – The feasibility study being conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for the construction of a San Juanico Bridge II will take a year before they release the result.

Thus said Engr. Edgar Tabacon, the regional director of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

The JICA study team for the second San Juanico Bridge Project started their first of four on-site visits to the bridge route options on November 17, 2023. The second, third, and final on-site studies are slated in February-March 2024, July 2024, and September 2024 respectively, with the final feasibility study report targeted to be completed and submitted by December next year.

Tabacon said that the construction of the second San Juanico Bridge is timely as the San Juanico Bridge had already reached 50 years old and now needs repairs and rehabilitation to ensure its stability and safety of travelers and motorists that are using it every day.

San Juanico Bridge is one of the vital installations in the region located along the Maharlika Highway that does not only connect Samar and Leyte Island but also Mindanao to Luzon.

Having an alternative bridge that motorists can use to cross Samar to Leyte area will allow the public works department to fast-track any repair or rehabilitation they will implement for the San Juanico Bridge, Tabacon said.

“It is a mortal sin to close San Juanico Bridge dahil mapuputol po ang biyahe ng mga sasakyan na dumadaan sa San Juanico,” he said, adding that any repair and rehabilitation that they are implementing now are on phase-to-phase basis.

“If we have a second bridge, it will hasten any rehabilitation work that we implement and repair works at the older bridge,” Tabacon added.

Tabacon said that for the new bridge, they have proposed to have it four lanes and have a railway component but JICA only approved a two-lane bridge.

“But still we are thankful na magkakaroon ng second bridge,” he added.

The public work official added that having additional access would also result in faster delivery and transport of goods and response during times of emergency.

Based on initial plan, the national government will need P9.17 billion to build the second San Juanico Bridge with the proposed budget primarily to be used for the construction of the bridge’s superstructure, substructure, embankment, concrete girders, and relocation of power transmission lines