Cebu-Cordova Bridge contract signed

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CEBU CITY: The local governments of Cebu City and Cordova, Cebu and Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC), the toll road operations arm of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) on Friday signed the agreement for the construction of the Cebu-Cordova Bridge which is expected to serve at least 40,000 vehicles daily beginning 2020.

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The P27.9 billion project to construct an 8.25-kilometer bridge that will connect Cebu City to Cordova will help decongest the traffic in Cebu, an official of MPTC said.

“The two existing bridges are limited. Later this month they need to repair the first bridge meaning closing one lane. This shows you there is limited capacity,” Rodrigo E. Franco, president and chief operating officer of MPTC told reporters at the sidelines of the agreement signing in Cebu Friday.

The bridge is a public-private partnership project allowing MPTC to design, construct, and operate the Cordova bridge under a 35-year concession agreement.

The local governments of Cebu and Cordova will receive 1 percent of the gross revenues starting in the first year of operations, projected to be in 2020.

The project will be implemented through an unincorporated joint venture between MPTC, Cebu City, and Cordova.

Franco said that the additional access bridge that connects Cebu to the mainland gives motorists another route option that would help alleviate the congested traffic in the area.

“The beauty in this is you are not taking out the old bridges. If the traffic there is light and you don’t want to pay the toll you can still use the other bridges,” Franco said.

The toll bridge will charge a rate of P89 and is expected to cut the present travel time of one and a half hours to 40 minutes.

Cordova mayor Adelino B. Sitoy told reporters that the project is expected to help grow the tourism business in the town, as it provides direct access and faster travel.

“This is a very welcome project because this will open up my town. Right now my town is isolated, we have to pass through the two bridges.” Sitoy said.

“And my town is the smallest in the province of Cebu but the population is about 60,000 already, so this project is welcome and this is the best alternative for the island because the choke points are in Mandaue,” he further said.

The project includes the construction of the connections to Cebu City and Cordova, the main bridge structure, viaduct, causeway, roadway and toll facilities. It will be constructed at a site 7.5 kilometers south of the Mactan-Mandaue Bridge and will take off from the Cebu South Coastal Road crossing the Mactan Channel to Mactan Island.

MPTC is aiming to be a national toll road player, expanding its reach to other cities and provinces other than the National Capital Region (NCR).

“Our aspiration is to become a regional toll road player, but we are more careful in other locations,” Franco said.

He said MPTC is looking at several prospects for its next toll road projects but nothing concrete has developed so far.

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