DPWH: Construction of Panay-Guimaras-Negros Island Bridges to start in '23; $56.6-M loan secured

The most awaited creation of the multi-million-dollar, sea-crossing bridges in Western Visayas (Region 6) will commence in the first quarter of 2023, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) declared on Friday, Nov. 11.

Photo courtesy of DPWH

In his report to DPWH Secretary Manuel M. Bonoan, Senior Undersecretary Emil K. Sadain announced that the Department of Finance (DOF) has issued evidence of authority for the engineering services of the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Island Project (PGNIP) for the loan agreement to be in effect.

The DPWH is targeting to commence the detailed engineering design (DED) of the project by the first quarter of 2023.

Earlier this year, the Philippine government obtained US$56.6 million in loans from the Government of the Republic of Korea for the engineering services of PGN Island Bridges.

The DOF has already sent a green light on Oct. 24 for the usage of the loan agreement, according to Sadain, adding that the ceremonial exchange of signed loan agreement was held last May between the DOF and Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM).

He said the procurement of consulting services for the DED and assistance is ongoing. Meanwhile, submission and receipt of bid documents were scheduled for next month.

The 32.47-kilometer PGNIP is composed of two sea-crossing bridges connecting Panay Island, Guimaras Island, and Negros Island in Region 6.

Information sent to the Manila Bulletin by the DPWH revealed that the high-profile project has a total funding requirement of P187 billion and is projected to be completed in 2029.

"The indicative construction cost of the 32.47 km of bridges project is ₱187 billion. Target completion of the project is 2029," DPWH Stakeholders Relations Service Director Randy R. Del Rosario told the Manila Bulletin.

He said the US$56.6 million loan from the Korean government is only for the funding of engineering services such as preliminary designs covering a review of the feasibility study and basic design, detailed engineering design, including estimation of construction cost, and procurement assistance.

Meanwhile, DPWH officials said the project requires complex and comprehensive engineering works, which is why they sought the service of highly profiled consultants with extensive experience in long-span bridges, which will help DPWH prepare for the construction in an efficient and timely manner.

In line with the loan guidelines, the KEXIM-Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) issued a notice of concurrence on the shortlist of consultants for the DED last September.

Photo courtesy of DPWH

An on-ground assessment of the project was held on Thursday, Nov. 10, by Sadain, Mayor Miguel Antonio C. Peña of Palupandan, Negros Occidental, and other DPWH officials.

The Infrastructure Development Committee of the Regional Development Council (RDC) 6 approved the Guimaras-Negros linkage or Section B.

The linkage between Guimaras-Negros will comprise a sea-crossing bridge with an approximate length of 13.11 kilometers, road approaches with an approximate total of 5.49 kilometers, and road connectors of 0.87 kilometers with a 19.47-kilometer total length.

On the other hand, the linkage between Panay-Guimaras or Section A will comprise a sea-crossing bridge with an approximate length of 4.97 kilometers and a road approach with an approximate of 8.03 kilometers with a total of 13.00 kilometers long.

Once completed, travel time for commuters and motorists and the transport of goods from Panay to the Negros Islands through ferries (Ro-Ro) will be shortened from three to four hours to less than an hour.