A THIRD CEBU BRIDGE linking Cebu City with Cordova town is undergoing construction following a tapping off led by President Duterte. More bridges linking other islands in the Visayas long envisioned may follow but much later due to massive costs.
By CLAIRE MORALES TRUE
CEBU CITY (PhilAmPress) — A third big bridge in Cebu is under construction now.
No less than President Rodrigo Duterte led bygroundbreaking for the bridge that will connect progressive Cebu City to Cordova town where a massive reclamation was earlier made following that of Cebu City.
Called the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX), the bridge will cost P27.9 billion and could pave the way for the construction of more bridges linking the islands in the Visayas like Negros, Bohol, and others.
The CCLEX is reportedly patterned after the East Bay Bridge linking San Francisco and Oakland in California.
So far, only the 2.6 kilometer San Juanico bridge built at a cost of $21 million with Japan support during the Marcos administration linking Samar and Leyte is the longest bridge in the country connecting two islands. The bridge which spans the San Juanico Strait from Sta. Rita, Samar to Tacloban City in Leyte was completed in 1973.
President Duterte led the groundbreaking last week for the CCLEX, the third bridge linking Cebu City to Mactan via Cordova town.
Although the President said in jest that “bridges are the refuge of the desperate,” noting that a number of people have jumped off the two existing Mandaue-Mactan bridges, he said he Filipinos may see a nation with bridges.
“Maybe in the years to come, we will see a nation with bridges, connect-connecting short distances. But the far and between the wide expanse of the sea, it will take generation,” he said.
But he said he wants to see the islands in the Visayas to be the first to be linked with bridges.
”But hopefully, the first to go for the islands of bridges will really be the Visayas,” Duterte said.
The President also said he approved the CCLEX because Cebu gave him 1.4 million votes of the more than 16 million votes he got in winning the presidency.
The CCLEX, a joint venture with the Metro Pacific Tollways Development Corp. (MPTDC) and the local governments of Cebu City and Cordova town, will be built at no cost to the national government and the two local governments involved in the project.
Its construction is expected generate 5,000 jobs and is set to be finished by 2020 or within the term of President Duterte.
It looks like people in the Visayas need not wait for a generation to see more islands in the central Philippines linked with bridges.
Manny V. Pangilinan, MPTDC chairman, said a fourth bridge linking Cebu and Mactan could be built in less than 20 years.
“This (CCLEX) is the third bridge, but in my own assessment, you do need two more bridges and we’d like to see the fourth bridge being built certainly in much less than 20 years,” Pangilinan said.
Pangilinan also said they are looking into building a bridge that will link Cebu and Bohol.
“Earlier, (Bohol) Governor Edgar Chatto told me that it should link the islands of Cebu and Bohol, and I said, absolutely!” he said.
Other plans are to build bridges linking Cebu to Negros Island and linking Bohol to Leyte.