MOTORISTS were advised to take alternate routes following the closure of Otis Bridge in Manila to vehicular traffic. The closure was to allow government engineers to repair a badly damaged portion that had put the bridge—used by thousands of vehicles, including heavy trailer trucks from Manila’s Port Area—in “near collapse” status.
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) General Manager Jojo Garcia said the bridge will have to be replaced altogether, a process that may take at least nine months to a year.
“We cannot compromise safety. Motorists and truckers have to take a detour for their safety,” said Garcia, adding that motorists must detour as the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) starts the bridge’s reconstruction.
DPWH South Manila District Engineer Mike Macud said the 50-year-old structure could no longer hold trailer and cargo trucks, which account for much of the bridge’s vehicular volume daily.
“We consider this bridge an old infrastructure. The girder supporting the bridge has already collapsed,” said Macud.
Besides old age, another factor behind the damage was the number of trucks passing the area, particularly overloaded heavy vehicles.“There are at least 6,000 trucks passing the bridge daily,” Macud added.
The rehabilitation work will be done in phases and will be undertaken on 24/7 schedule.
Garcia said the bridge’s repair was given the necessary permit as early as 2016 but was put on hold to make way for the repair of Concordia Bridge and the relocation of an electric post in the area.
Garcia directed MMDA Task Force Special Operations head Bong Nebrija to intensify the removal of illegally parked vehicles and other obstructions along alternate routes to mitigate the expected traffic congestion that the reconstruction project would cause.
Listed alternate routes:
For light vehicles:
■ From Nagtahan to South Luzon Expressway (Slex), turn right at Zamora Street, left to President Quirino Extension to destination.
■ From Slex to R-10, take President Quirino Avenue, left turn at Plaza Dilao, right to President Quirino Avenue Extension, straight to UN Avenue, right to Romualdez, right to Romualdez to destination.
■ From R-10 to Slex, right at C-3 Road, 5th Avenue, left to A. Bonifacio Avenue, Nlex, right to Smart Connect Service Road, right to Mindanao Avenue to destination.
For the safety of motorists, the MMDA installed plastic barriers around the damaged portion of the bridge, particularly the middle portion where cracks have developed.
The MMDA also asked the DPWH to seek the help of barangay officials in managing traffic flow in the area.
Aside from Otis Bridge, Garcia said 40 other bridges in Metro Manila are undergoing inspection due to safety concerns. Four of the 40 have been retrofitted.
“We are asking the DPWH to give us a list of the bridges that need massive repairs,” Garcia said.