Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Acting Secretary Roger "Oging" Mercado announced that proposal to construct a new bridge is underway to sustain inter-island connectivity of mainland Southern Leyte with Panaon Island.
“The construction of a new bridge structure adjacent to existing Liloan Bridge in Liloan, Southern Leyte is a priority because it forms part of the national arterial highway linking Luzon to Mindanao passing Eastern Visayas of Samar and Leyte”, said Secretary Mercado during a coordination meeting on the regional development investment plan with representatives from the National Economic and Development Authority - Region 8 in Tacloban City, Leyte.
Although the existing Liloan Bridge Steel Bridge had been retrofitted in the recent years, the bridge has been of service for 40 plus years and with recognizable deteriorations. The proposed four-lane new bridge is also needed to meet the expanding traffic capacity inasmuch as Liloan and nearby San Ricardo town have roll-on roll-off ports that serve ferry going to Surigao in Mindanao.
The DPWH-NEDA Joint Meeting was also partipated by DPWH Undersecretary for Unified Project Management Office (UPMO) Operations and Build Build Build Chief Implementer Emil K. Sadain; Undersecretary for Information Management, Planning and PPP Services Maria Catalina E. Cabral; Undersecretary for Regional Operations in NCR, Region IV-B and the Visayas Maximo L. Carvajal; Assistant Secretaries Wilfredo Mallari and Antonio V. Molano Jr.; Region 8 Director Allan Borromeo; UPMO Project Director Sharif Madsmo Hasim; Bureau of Design OIC-Director Edwin Matanguihan; Bureau of Construction OIC Assistant Director Edgardo Garces; UPMO Project Manager Teresita Bauzon; the Division Chiefs and District Engineers of DPWH Region 8; and NEDA Region 8 OIC Asst Director Jam Colas and Supervising Economic Development Specialist Jensen Rico.
At least five (5) other proposed big-ticket infrastructure projects in different locations of Eastern Visayas were also presented in the meeting.
These include the 5.79 kilometer Maasin City Coastal Bypass Road that will connect Tomas Oppus Street to Maasin City Port to Bdry. Southern Leyte- Maasin-Macrohon-Daang Maharlika Road; completion of Silago-Abuyog Coastal Road; 17.89 km widening from two (2) to four (4) lanes of Daang Maharlika Highway in Southern Leyte; 19 km Bohol-Leyte Link Bridge; and 15 km Samar Pacific Coastal Road Project Phase 2 including construction of Laoang 2 and Calomotan Bridges.
After the meeting, the DPWH team headed by Secretary Mercado personally conducted an assessment of the existing Liloan Bridge structure at Panaon Island, Southern Leyte.
Panaon Island is composed of the towns of Liloan, San Francisco, Pintuyan, and San Ricardo.
The bridge present vertical navigational clearance of 17 meters is inadequate for large vessels docking at Liloan port forcing them to take a different but longer route.
A new inclined cable-stayed bridge was proposed by the Bureau of Design to be constructed and is anticipated to become a significant part of the local landscape, having a more dynamic impact because of the inclined pylons and asymmetrical composition for a more remarkable and unique character.
Secretary Mercado’s group also checked the uncompleted portion of Abuyog-Silago Road - Silago Section, and the improvement works at the very steep grade of Saddle Section along Liloan - San Ricardo Road which is considered "most dangerous" road section in Eastern Visayas.