ADB to fund bridge projects over Marikina River

Published December 15, 2021, 3:16 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced another loan to the Philippine government, but this time the financing will fund the construction of bridges over the Marikina River to improve road traffic flow in Metro Manila.

In a statement, the Manila-based multilateral institution said on Wednesday, Dec. 15, that the ADB approved a $175 million loan to help the government build three new “climate- and disaster-resilient” bridges over the Marikina River.

The Metro Manila bridges project will construct bridges totaling 3,024 meters over the Marikina River, including the Marcos Highway–St. Mary Avenue Bridge, Homeowner’s Drive–A. Bonifacio Bridge, and Kabayani Street–Matandang Balara Bridge.

ADB said the fresh loan will help improve the ability of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to manage, operate, and maintain the country’s roads and bridges.

Chaorin Shim, ADB transport specialist said the bridge projects are part of the country’s “Build, Build, Build” program and the government’s integrated transport strategy to decongest Metro Manila, and promote development in the regions.

The project is ADB’s first focused on bridge construction in the Philippines.

The bank added that the financing will help in the country’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic by creating jobs, improving the living conditions of residents near the river, and providing them with better access to the rest of Metro Manila.

The bridge designs include climate- and disaster-resilient features to reduce flood risks and absorb shocks from strong earthquakes. The bridges will connect to Metro Manila’s major arterial and other trunk roads.

The project meets international safety standards for access to all pedestrians, including people with disabilities, children, older people, and women, ADB added.

Last Dec. 13, the ADB also approved a $250 million loan to the government that will fund the procurement of 40 million additional doses of COVID-19 vaccines for eligible children and booster shots for adults.

The loan, the Second Health System Enhancement to Address and Limit COVID-19 under the Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility (HEAL2) Additional Financing, will be cofinanced by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

As of Dec. 8, 2021, more than 57 million Filipinos, or nearly 65 percent of the Philippines’ target population, had been vaccinated with at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose.