MANILA - The Binondo-Intramuros Bridge in Manila was inspected Thursday by Philippine and Chinese officials as its construction nears completion by the first half of this year.
The 680 meter-long bridge, which was constructed starting 2018 as a Chinese government grant, is being targeted to be opened during the Holy Week, in April, the Department of Public Works and Highways had said.
“As a friend, this is grant from the Chinese government and the design is very unique… You can see from here, that’s two arches joined together, symbolizing the kind of friendship, brotherly relationship between China and the Philippines… We move hand-in-hand, shoulder and shoulder, forward into a brighter future," Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian said during the inspection, together with Undersecretary Robert Borje from President Rodrigo Duterte's office.
The envoy said Chinese engineers used the latest technology to build the Binondo-Intramuros Bridge, and this has been passed on to Filipino engineers.
The DPWH said the project is estimated to cost P3.39 billion.
Once opened, the bridge can accommodate up to 30,000 cars per day and will hopefully decongest traffic traversing between Binondo and Intramuros.
Huang said there are a total of five bridges that will be put up across the Pasig River. One has already been completed, while the three other bridges are expected to be completed in the coming years.
“We have implemented more than one dozen government projects including some railways in the pipeline, including Kaliwa Dam and of course including Davao-Samal connector bridge," he said.
"In terms of trade, the Philippines has become China’s important trade partner," he added.
"It’s important that partnerships are strengthened for the benefit of both sides," Borje said of the relations of Manila and Beijing.
Some sectors had expressed fears that the project might plow through some heritage sites in the country's capital.
- Report from Johnson Manabat, ABS-CBN News