Submarine tunnel being eyed to connect Davao City, Samal Island

Published January 25, 2019, 10:31 PM

by Dhel Nazario, Jeffrey G. Damicog, and Rey G. Panaligan

By Antonio Colina IV

DAVAO CITY – The government is considering the construction of a submarine tunnel to connect Davao City and Island Garden City of Samal (IGACOS) due to some geophysical limitations in Pakiputan Strait that might make the construction of a multi-billion peso bridge unlikely, National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) 11 director Maria Lourdes Lim said.

Lim told the “Kapihan sa PIA” Friday that the construction of the submarine tunnel was among the options but added nothing was definite yet until the feasibility study undertaken by Over Arup & Partners Hong Kong LTD is completed some time August this year.

She said that the “study will assess the feasibility of the proposed connector, covering engineering, economic, social impact and environmental safeguards studies, including the alignment and structural form based on technical, economic, environmental and social impacts” of the bridge project worth P10 billion.

Among the difficulties cited were the height considerations since the location would be within the flight path of aircraft and several other large shipping vessels that enter Davao Gulf, she said.

“There are various options to realize this project. This will not just be conventional bridge. Another option, by the way, is a construction of a tunnel, submarine tunnel. Let’s look forward to the conclusion of this feasibility study. Because of the physical limitations posed by Pakiputan Strait, the navigational as well as air clearances have to be met,” she said.

She said that there are various “approaches” from both sides that are being looked at in the construction of a bridge.

“There are several approaches being considered, several points — Davao side and Samal side. Several options. It’s not necessarily that the closest or shortest distance between Davao and Samal would give us the cheapest price tag. It’s not that. We are looking at this environmental implication, impact as well as this physical constraints,” she said.

Once completed, she said the feasibility study will be evaluated by the Department of Public Works and Highways and Regional Development Council 11. It will also undergo a review and appraisal process by the NEDA-Investment Coordination Committee, and