After being postponed twice, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) along with the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) have jointly announced that the Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge (popularly known as the Rockwell bridge) that connects the cities of Makati and Mandaluyong, will definitely be closed at 4AM on January 19, 2019.
Built as recently as 2011, the current steel structure will be replaced with a more permanent steel and concrete bridge, with four lanes instead of two, to serve more motorists and pedestrians alike.
The new bridge will allow increased carrying capacity to serve the progressive cities of Makati and Mandaluyong, and also serve as a viable alternate route once complete.
The renovations will improve the bridge’s service sustainability and allow it to cope with extreme events such as a high intensity earthquake.
"The government, through the DPWH, have to [take into account] the exponential growth of vehicles in Metro Manila and take the significant but necessary step of closing [it] for demolition and reconstruction because of safety concerns, since the existing bridge was originally constructed to cater to the local traffic of Makati/Mandaluyong with a designed capacity of 22,000 vehicles," said DPWH Undersecretary Emil K. Sadain of the Unified Project Management Office (UPMO) Operations and Technical Services.
As of present, authorities estimate that about 25,000 to as high as 35,000 vehicles use the Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge, way over its designed theoretical limit of 22,000. The new structure aims to safely double this capacity to cope with growth in both cities where several high-volume residential and mixed-use projects are being constructed and completed.
The new 560 lineal-meter bridge structure will take about 30 months to construct. As earlier mentioned, it will feature four lanes (two per direction), and 3-meter pedestrian sidewalks on each direction for pedestrian safety and accessibility. The landing area of the bridge is also expected to be widened as the bridge nears completion in 2020. It aims to be a landmark bridge with its new iconic design as shown in the rendering above. Costing Php 1.47 billion, it will be fully funded by a Php 5.27 billion grant from the Chinese government which will also see the construction of another nearby bridge connecting Bonifacio Global City, Taguig and Pasig City. Being funded by a grant, China Road and Bridge Corporation was the appointed contractor for the said project.
Usec. Sadain ensured that the dismantled modular steel component from the current structure will not be wasted as it will be re-used for bridge links in localities with less vehicular volume.
Due to the bridge closing, the public is advised to seek alternate routes like the Makati-Mandaluyong Bridge connecting Makati Avenue to Mandaluyong and the Guadalupe Bridge along EDSA.
Ahead of the closure, MMDA General Manager, Jojo Garcia, said members of the Task Force Operations Group will intensify their clearing operations on listed alternate routes in coordination with the local government units of Makati and Mandaluyong. Traffic signage and no parking signs will be installed around the project vicinity this week.
"Starting Monday, all traffic obstructions, including illegally parked vehicles and vendors will be cleared," said Garcia.
The MMDA has also outlined alternate routes for affected motorists:
- All vehicles coming from the Cities of Mandaluyong, San Juan and Quezon City using the Mabuhay Lane (Sgt. Bumatay and Barangka Drive) must take right at Pantaleon, then Coronado take the Makati –Mandaluyong Bridge to destination.
- Vehicles coming from Maysilo and San Francisco straight ahead to Coronado and Makati – Mandaluyong Bridge to destination.
- Other vehicles coming Mandaluyong going to Makati Business Center, shall also take EDSA then Guadalupe Cloverleaf to J. P. Rizal Avenue Extension, left at Estrella to destination.
- All exiting vehicles coming from TIVOLI Garden Residences shall use the back gate located at the Private Road (Sen. N. Gonzales Road).
- All vehicles coming from Makati Avenue, take P. Burgos (converted to one way), straight to Makati – Mandaluyong Bridge, Coronado then San Francisco can take Mabuhay Lane or to destination.
- Vehicles coming from Rockwell take Estrella then right at Gumamela Street, then left at Camia Street to J.P. Rizal to destination.
- Public Utility Jeepney (PUJ) and Tricycle shall be diverted at the Private Road (Sen. N. Gonzales Road) and vice versa.