Caught (up) in traffic

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Daily Archives: July 8, 2012

The San Juanico Bridge

The longest bridge in the Philippines is found between the islands of Samar and Leyte in the Visayas (central Philippines). Flying on a clear day, we saw the bridge as our plane maneuvered towards  Tacloban Airport. I took a few shots before our plane turned for the landing. Later, we also took a few photos along the bridge en route to Catbalogan, Samar.

Our first look at the San Juanico Bridge was from the air as our aircraft maneuvered towards Tacloban Airport. Leyte Island is on the right while Samar Island is on the left.

The Samar end of the bridge is in the town of Basey and the Leyte end is in Tacloban City.

The bridge is designed in order for vessels to be able to navigate under the superstructure. The construction obviously takes advantage of the islands in the San Juanico Strait.

Traffic along the bridge was quite low. Heavy vehicle traffic like the truck in the photo are usually regulated when using the bridge as the structure cannot carry too much load given the heavier trucks we have now. The DPWH is in charge of monitoring such heavy vehicle traffic and large trucks must get permission before traversing the bridge.

Quite unusual – this was the first time I saw a public utility motorcycle, called habal-habal in many parts of the country, that had a makeshift roof to provide shade to the rider and his passenger(s).

This is a view I’ve seen as a background in many photos as it shows an interesting section of the bridge as it eventually lands in Samar.

Given the light traffic along this bridge that connects two of the largest islands in the country, I am tempted to ponder on the proposals to build much longer bridges connecting other islands. One such proposal is for a bridge to connect the islands of Panay and Negros in Western Visayas. While traffic between these two islands will surely be more than that between Samar and Leyte, I would bet that this won’t be enough to justify the staggering cost of such infrastructure. Indeed, it will be a longer bridge and one that will be a marvel of engineering but it is a folly if seen from the perspective of the people in both islands having more pressing needs in both social and institutional infrastructures (e.g., health centers and schools) that spending money on such a bridge is just plain obscenity.