Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge to be closed for 2 years starting January 19

MANILA, Philippines – It's final: the Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge will be closed on Saturday, January 19, at 4 am.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) announced in a press briefing Friday, January 11, that the scheduled closure will be pushed back to January 19, instead of the original date, January 12.

MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia said that they followed the Department of Public Works and Highways' (DPWH) timeline to close it on January 19, which gives MMDA more time to prepare the alternative routes for the public.

"The reason behind the closure of the bridge ay sabi ng [Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology] na nagkaroon ng study na itong bridge na 'to. Kung makikita n'yo matibay siya, but hindi siya naka-design for a [highly-urbanized] city like Metro Manila," Garcia said.

(The reason behind the closure of the bridge is that Phivolcs said there is already a study on this bridge. When you look at it, it looks sturdy, but it's not designed for a highly-urbanized city like Metro Manila.)

Garcia said the new bridge that will be constructed "will not fall" should the "Big One" happen. The "Big One" refers to the magnitude 7.2 earthquake that could hit Metro Manila if the West Valley Fault moves.

Garcia added the Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge only serves as an "alternative bridge" that connects Mandaluyong and Makati.

ALTERNATE ROUTE. MMDA shows the alternative route for motorists when Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge closes. Rappler photo

ALTERNATE ROUTE. MMDA shows the alternative route for motorists when Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge closes.

Rappler photo

Based on the DPWH timeline, the demolition and reconstruction of the Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge will be completed in 2021.

The project aims to widen the bridge from its present two lanes to 4 lanes. The bridge's expected capacity after the reconstruction is at 50,000 vehicles a day.

The closure was slammed by different transport advocates because the reconstruction of the bridge will affect an estimated 100,000 vehicles. Garcia said travel from Mandaluyong to Makati will take one and a half hour, instead of the 9-minute trip using the Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge.

Some groups also expressed concerns over the project, which is part of a P5.27-billion Chinese grant, as it will be tapping Chinese firms instead of local companies. The grant allows China to conduct the survey, design, and construction of two bridges along the Pasig River.

Chinese firm CCC Highway Consultant Ltd is doing the engineering design, while China Road and Bridge Corporation is conducting the civil works.  –

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.