The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is targeting to commence by first quarter of 2023 the detailed engineering design (DED) activities of a long-time dream project for the people of Western Visayas.
In his report to DPWH Secretary Manuel M. Bonoan, Senior Undersecretary Emil K. Sadain said that the Department of Finance (DOF) has issued on October 24, 2022 evidence of authority for the engineering services of the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Island Bridges for the loan agreement to be in effect.
To date, the procurement of consulting services for the DED and tender assistance is on-going and submission and receipt of bidding documents is scheduled this December 2022.
The 32.47-kilometer Panay-Guimaras-Negros Island Bridges Project, composed of two (2)-sea-crossing bridges connecting Panay Island, Guimaras Island and Negros Island in Region 6, is a large and complex project that requires comprehensive and high-standard engineering works to be serviced by consultants who have extensive experience in long-span bridges, which will help DPWH prepare for the construction in an efficient and timely manner.
According to Senior Undersecretary Sadain, the scope of engineering services are preliminary design covering review of the feasibility study and preliminary and basic design; detailed engineering design including estimation of detailed construction cost; and procurement assistance.
Senior Undersecretary Sadain together with Pulupandan, Negros Occidental Mayor Miguel Antonio C. Peña and the five (5) DPWH Unified Project Management Office (UPMO) Project Directors namely Benjamin A. Bautista, Sharif Madsmo H. Hasim, Ramon A. Arriola III, Rodrigo I. Delos Reyes, and Soledad R. Florencio conducted an on-ground assessment on November 10, 2022 of the proposed location of road approach at the Negros Island side.
The Infrastructure Development Committee of the Regional Development Council (RDC) 6 approved the Guimaras-Negros linkage or Section B of the project for endorsement to RDC 6 during the 3rd Quarter Reorganizational Meeting held September 14, 2022. The project was fully endorsed and approved by the committee during the RDC 6 Full Council Third
Quarter Meeting held on October 13, 2022.
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 length of 5.49 kilometers and road connectors 0.87 kilometers with a total length of 19.47 kilometers.
On the otherhand, the linkage between Panay-Guimaras or Section A will comprise a sea-crossing bridge with an approximate length of 4.97 kilometers and road approach with an approximate total length of 8.03 kilometers with a total length of 13.00 kilometers.
“We still have a long way to go, but the wait will be worth it as we have the opportunity to make this dream come true”, added Senior Undersecretary Sadain.
Early this year, the Government of the Philippines has obtained $56.6 Million in loans from the Government of the Republic of Korea for the engineering services of PGN Island Bridges.
A ceremonial exchange of signed loan agreement for engineering services of PGN Island Bridges was held last May 2022 between the DOF and Export Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM).
In line with the loan guidelines, the KEXIM-Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) has issued last September a notice of concurrence on the shortlist of consultants for the DED.
Once the interlink bridges are constructed, travel time of commuters and motorist and transport of goods from Panay to Negros Islands through ferries/RORO will be shortened from 3-4 hours to just less than 1 hour.