By FLORO L. MERCENE
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) scheduled the closure of an important bridge in Makati and Mandaluyong, the Estrella-Pantaleon bridge on Jan. 12 or thereabout.
This is expected to further constrict the flow of pedestrian, commuter, and motorist traffic in the EDSA area, but both the government and the public are hard pressed to drink the bitter pill. Somehow, the authorities should act on the ever worsening traffic problem in that part of Metro Manila.
Following a study made by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), both the Estrella-Pantaleon bridge near Rockwell, Makati and the Binondo-Intramuros bridge in Manila will together make a big difference in easing traffic in these two highly congested areas of the metropolis.
But the people — motorists, commuters, workers, students, and pedestrians — are duly warned that things are bound to get worse before they get better, at least in the matter of Metro traffic.
Closure of the Makati bridge will take all of 30 months — two years and a half — as construction progresses and engineers add two more lanes to the bridge. The original bridge, which was made with Austrian funding for P300 million eight years ago, will be demolished and a new one will rise.
The start of construction will bring horrendous traffic in Metro Manila, considering that Guadalupe Bridge will also be closed for safety reasons, during the first quarter of 2019. We don’t know how they will handle the EDSA traffic with this.
Last September, the DPWH already closed the Estrella-Pantaleon bridge to start the demolition but the project was met with strong public outcry that the department had to relent. Now, it looks like the bridge construction will indeed push through.
I hope the government will find a win-win solution to this festering transport problem, such as pushing through with the additional two lanes while not totally closing the bridge. This way, the interests of two camps of the same public may be served.