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Davao-Samal bridge may be completed after Duterte’s term: exec

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews) – The highly anticipated 3.98-kilometer Davao City-Island Garden City of Samal (IGaCOS) bridge project may be completed not during the term of President Rodrigo R. Duterte but his successor’s.

Public Works and Highways Undersecretary Emil Sadain said in a text message on Tuesday that the bridge project has a five-year timeline, starting from the implementation of the design and build contract in the first quarter of 2021, which means the target completion of this multi-billion bridge project can be expected by 2026.

He added that the conceptual design would be finalized by end of this month while the procurement would commence by October this year.

Sadain said there are yet no actual construction activities being undertaken in the city, except for the ongoing groundworks as part of the geotechnical survey for the foundation of the bridge.

In a briefer emailed by the DPWH, the objectives of the Davao-Samal bridge include providing a “resilient & reliable transportation link between Metro Davao & IGaCOS, enhancing internal mobility and external linkage to support the growth potential of the Davao Region” and “ease of access to tourism activities in IGaCOS, enhance community access to employment, education and other social services and alternative route during emergency situation and disasters.”

The Investment Coordination Committee (ICC)-Cabinet Committee approved for the implementation of this project on November 6, 2019. The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Board confirmed it on November 29, 2019.

According to the NEDA, the Davao-Samal bridge “aims to provide a permanent road linkage between Davao City and the Island Garden City of Samal (IGaCOS) resulting in the reduction of travel time and reliability constraints currently experienced through the use of ferry services.”

It added that construction of the bridge, which can serve around 25,000 vehicles a day, is scheduled from 2021 to 2024 and the operation eyed beginning 2025.

According to “The Study on the Davao Integrated Development Program (DIDP) Master Planning March 1999” by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the bridge connecting the city and Samal was recommended because the island has a high potential for high-grade residential development, environment-friendly industrial estate, and cultural and financial centers under the BIMP-EAGA scheme as well as resort development due to its adjacency to the city.

It said the project is urgently needed for land transportation because of the high development potential of Samal Island, the expectation of rapid progress in development, and security of about 100,000 residents and around 700,000 tourists.

“Considering the state that the number of tourists and travelers who use the ferries are remarkably increasing, the economic loss generated by the waiting time for ferry is increasing year by year,” it added. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)

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