By Denise A. Valdez
CEBU CITY — A Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) unit began on Thursday the construction of a toll bridge that will connect Mactan island to mainland Cebu.
“It’s a project that will take three years to construct, so we expect completion in 2021,” MPTC President Rodrigo E. Franco told reporters on the sidelines of the ceremony here.
The 8.5-kilometer Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEx) have a two-lane road, a main bridge, a viaduct at Cordova, an eight-lane toll plaza and a causeway. MPTC unit Cebu Cordova Link Expressway Corp. (CCLEC) is in charge of the project.
Mr. Franco said the company is looking to charge a maximum P89 toll fee at the CCLEx.
He said the total project cost is estimated at P26 billion to P29 billion, taking into consideration “indirect project costs” that may arise.
Mr. Franco said the company is raising funds of around P18 billion to P19 billion through syndicated loans from local banks.
The MPTC official said the toll bridge could cut travel time from Mactan to Cebu by half as the Mactan-Mandaue and Marcelo Fernan bridges are connected to the northern part of Cebu, while CCLEx would end in the south.
“Before if you’re coming from, let’s say, the business district of Cebu City, you still have to go to northern Cebu. You have to go to Mandaue before you can cross the bridge. So it takes time. Now, those coming from the business district, coming from southern Cebu City, you just cross the bridge then you’ll be in Mactan,” Mr. Franco said.
An initial traffic of 40,000 vehicles a day is expected on the CCLEx.
Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark A. Villar said the government is also looking to construct a fourth Mactan-Cebu bridge, which is subject of a feasibility study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
“Meron po kaming ginagawang plano ngayon sa fourth bridge. Well, we’re hoping to start pag natapos na ’yung mga ginagawa ng JICA. We’re hoping na we could finish the feasibility and the engineering design by this year para next year makapagsimula na [We’re planning a fourth bridge. We’re hoping to start when JICA finishes its feasibility study. We’re hoping to finish the feasibility study and engineering design by this year so the project could start next year],” he told reporters on the sidelines of the event.
Based on the JICA study, he said one more bridge is needed to decongest the Metro Cebu traffic, even when the CCLEx opens.
While details of the fourth bridge project have yet to be finalized, Mr. Villar is confident the project could be finished before 2022.
For Mr. Franco, the proposed fourth bridge is no threat to its business because its landing will likely be in northern Cebu, while CCLEx is in south.
CCLEx is MPTC’s first project outside of Luzon done in cooperation with the local government of Cebu. In the future, the tollways company said it may still pursue projects in Cebu again.
MPTC is the tollways unit of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC). MPIC is one of the three key Philippine units of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being Philex Mining Corp. and PLDT, Inc. Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls.