BATANGAS CITY: The Sabang Bridge, which links Batangas City and several towns in Batangas as well as Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan (Mimaropa), remains closed to traffic, adversely affecting the economy in the four provinces.
The bridge, which used to be the tallest and longest bridge in the country, has been closed to traffic in both directions because of ongoing repairs of the visible sag and joint deflection after the onslaught of Typhoon “Nina” in the province last December.
All vehicles, particularly buses and trucks, were diverted to the service road from Barangay Balagtas here that traverses the town of San Jose, causing daily nightmarish traffic between San Jose town and the cities of Lipa and Batangas.
More than 50,000 individuals and commuters have been affected daily by the temporary closure of the STAR expressway where Sabang Bridge also connects the towns of Mabini, Bauan, Ibaan, San Jose and cities of Lipa to Batangas.
The bridge also links the Philippine Ports Authority and Batangas City Port, the biggest seaports in the country, which serve cargo vessels coming from foreign countries and the RoRo (Roll on/Roll off) carrying thousands of passengers traveling to Mimaropa and areas in the Visayas.
RoRo passengers, shippers and even tourists have been complaining of delayed trips or worse, often missing their schedules because it takes them longer hours to get to the port or their destinations in the region.
Meanwhile, board member Wilson Rivera told The Manila Times that they are scheduled to sit down with the management of Southern Tagalog Aerial Road (STAR) Expressway, that is in charge of the highway project, to know the exact date when the bridge repair works will be completed.
The STAR Tollway recently announced that it will finish the repair of the bridge in a minimum of three months.
CRISZUS NIÑO V. IBON