The Metro Manila Development Authority on Tuesday announced that the Otis Bridge in Manila will be closed to vehicular traffic to give way for its rehabilitation that may take at least nine months.
MMDA general manager Jose Arturo Garcia Jr. advised motorists to take the alternative routes as the Department of Public Works and Highways starts the bridge’s reconstruction.
“We cannot compromise safety. Motorists and truckers have to take a detour for their safety,” said Garcia, in a press briefing on Tuesday afternoon.
DPWH South Manila district engineer Mike Macud explained that the 50-year-old bridge could no longer hold trucks and cargo trucks passing the bridge.
“We consider this bridge an old infrastructure. The girder supporting the bridge already collapsed,” said Macud.
Aside from old age, another factor that contributed to 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,” he added.
Macud said the bridge’s rehabilitation work will be done in phases and will be undertaken on a 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 relocation of an electric post in the area.
Garcia directed MMDA Task Force Special Operations head Edison 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.
The MMDA prepared the alternate routes:
For southbound light vehicles, the agency advised motorists to take Nagtahan, turn right at Zamora Street, left to President Quirino Extension to the destination.
Northbound vehicles from South Luzon Expressway may take President Quirino Avenue, turn left at Plaza Dilao, right to President Quirino Avenue Extension, straight to U.N. Avenue, right to Romualdez, right to Ayala Boulevard to the destination.
Meanwhile, cargo and trailer trucks are also advised to take Radial 10, left to Circumferential Road - 3, 5th Avenue, left to A. Bonifacio Avenue, NLEX, right to Mindanao Avenue to the destination.
For the safety of motorists, the MMDA installed plastic barriers around the damaged portion of the bridge, particularly in the middle portion where cracks have developed.
The agency also asked the DPWH to seek the help of barangay officials in managing traffic flow in the area.
The MMDA will also deploy a number of traffic enforcers in the area to guide the affected motorists.
Aside from Otis Bridge, Garcia said 40 other bridges in Metro Manila are undergoing inspection due to safety concerns. Four out 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.