Work begins on P442.7m Olongapo-Subic Freeport Bridge
Location: Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Philippines
Date Published: November 19, 2019
Ten years after the concrete span was closed to vehicular traffic due to deterioration, work will soon begin o a P442.7-million project to replace a US Navy-era bridge linking the central business districts of the Subic Bay Freeport and the neighboring Olongapo City.
The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) announced on Monday the start of the Magsaysay Bridge project that will involve building a four-lane span to replace the existing bridge at the Freeport’s main gate, as well as improving security facilities, and upgrading road network, drainage structures and signage in the immediate area.
According to SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma, the project would improve access and mobility, revitalize business in the area and generate more opportunities for local livelihood.
It is expected to be finished by the first quarter of 2021.
“Aside from improving accessibility to the Subic Bay Freeport because this connects to the main artery in Olongapo, which is the Magsaysay Drive and Rizal Avenue, this project also takes into consideration public safety and convenience because the bridge is heavy in foot traffic,” Eisma pointed out.
“It also reflects our preparations for the boom in the local tourism business, as this will improve the appearance of the freeport main gate, which used to be the iconic symbol of Subic since when it became a naval base,” she added.
The project, to be undertaken by the consortium of Front Nine Konstruct Builders & Realty Development Corp., Qingdao Municipal Construction Group Co., Ltd., and Rebcor Construction and Trading Corp., is part of the SBMA’s rebuilding program to sustain Subic as an investment hub and growth center.
Recently, the SBMA announced a P1.6-billion budget to repair aging facilities constructed when Subic was still an American naval base, an upgrade that is badly-needed by the economic zone, Eisma said.
“For almost two decades now, the Navy-era facilities in Subic remained as they were. We’re now fixing these because the better our facilities are, the more businesses and jobs we can generate,” she said.
Magsaysay Bridge, which was built by the US Navy in the early ‘60s, has been downgraded by experts to a 20-ton capacity bridge as early as 1999. It was eventually closed to vehicular traffic in 2009 but remained open to pedestrians.
However, bridge repair has been put on hold over the years due to budget constraints and it was only last year that the SBMA funded a new detailed engineering design for a new structure.
According to the SBMA Engineering Department, the new Magsaysay Bridge will be a 72.5-meter multi-span slab bridge, about 600 mm thick on the average and with a total carriage width of 24.15 meters. It will also have a covered walkway for pedestrians.
The bridge project will also involve the demolition and removal of the existing two-lane span; the building of a new covered walkway and construction of new intersection and road expansion in the main gate area; and relocation of existing facilities for power, water, sewerage, and telecommunications.
Eisma said that the project contractor has recently started work for a temporary pedestrian bridge that will be built before the existing bridge is demolished.
The new Magsaysay Bridge is expected to be finished within 540 calendar days, she added.