The Regional Development Council VIII-Infrastructure and Utilities Development Committee (RDC VIII-IUDC) pushed for the conduct of a full-blown feasibility study on the construction of a second bridge linking Leyte and Samar during its special meeting on 16 July 2021 on Zoom.

The IUDC VIII recommended that the RDC VIII request the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to conduct a full-blown feasibility study on the construction of this second bridge.

This is an urgent study considering that the San Juanico Bridge, built in 1973, is encountering issues such as aging and high maintenance cost. A second bridge will not only address these issues but also serve to reduce traffic in the San Juanico Bridge.

Coined the ‘Janbatas Bridge’, the second bridge is currently set to be constructed in Babatngon, Leyte reaching up to Sta. Rita, Samar.

The study is suggested to explore the possibility of constructing a four-lane bridge, prioritizing a steel arch design, with a 50-year term and with the capability to carry a train load to serve as an alternate link to the San Juanico Bridge.

By further connecting the two islands with a high-standard highway, the Committee hopes that the project will improve the connectivity of the region and have a long-term positive effect in promoting regional development.

The DPWH and JICA previously conducted a pre-feasibility study on the construction of the second bridge. The two agencies recommended a Steel Arch Bridge design with a two-lane high standard highways (HSH) Class-2 and a bypass road function although this was revised to HSH Class-1 since it will be a part of the Samar-Leyte Expressway in the future.

Article and Photos by:  Knulp Aseo, DRD/ Miriel O. Pido, PMED