San Juanico Bridge remains safe – DPWH
GOVERNMENT CENTER, PALO, Leyte- The San Juanico Bridge remains to be safe despite of the discovery of the cracks on some of its piers which an official from the regional office of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) described the damages as minor and not alarming.
Rolando Asis, DPWH regional director, said that there is already a team that will look into the piers or columns of the bridge so these could be fixed immediately considering its importance in the transportation system in the region.
“We have noticed some cracks at the three piers or columns of the San Juanico Bridge which could be due to the earthquake. But these damages is not alarming as these could be fixed immediately,” Asis said.
The entire region and some parts of the Visayas and Mindanao felt a 7.6 magnitude temblor last August 31 which also caused damages to various public infrastructures, particularly in Eastern Samar.
Asis said that when a team from their office conducted a rapid assessment on the San Juanico Bridge a day after the earthquake, they did not notice any damage to the facility.
“But during our inspection last Thursday, that’s the time that we have discovered that three piers of its piers sustained some cracks,” the DPWH regional director said.
Based on their inspection, pier 5, 33 and 34 sustained “minor cracks” which could be the result of the earthquake. Pier 5 is located at the Leyte side while piers 33 and 34 are located at the Samar side, Asis added.
San Juanico Bridge, which connects the islands of Leyte and Samar spans 2.1 kilometers, has more than 50 piers and is considered to be a vital installation in the region.
The bridge, located along San Juanico Strait, was constructed at a cost of more than $12 million in 1969 and was finished in 1973. It is sometimes referred to as “Marcos Bridge” as it was built during the administration of former President Ferdinand Marcos whose wife, Imelda Marcos, hails from Leyte.
Asis said that the San Juanico Bridge remains to be passable. “(Our motorists) have nothing to worry. The bridge is okay and remain passable,” he said.
Meantime, the DPWH regional director said that they are still in the process of conducting the total cost of damage to various public infrastructures in the region as a result of the earthquake that hit the region.
The 7.6 magnitude quake is considered to be the strongest to ever hit Eastern Visayas in more than 20 years.
But initially, the DPWH regional director placed the damage of the infrastructures at more than P70 million.
Asis also said that the 30 meter Layug Bridge in San Julian town, Eastern Samar has been repaired last Monday by the department.
The said bridge is under rehabilitation when it was damaged by the quake. Its approaches settled down as the slope protection were damaged by the quake. (JOEY A. GABIETA)
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