Road Update on Tomas Claudio Bridge’s Closure

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Following the major complaints about the traffic along Alabang, paired with the holiday rush and the frenzy around shopping malls during Christmas, major road networks are experiencing some of the worst traffic the Philippines has experienced in the last decade.

Adding to this, August 3 of this year marked the start of the six-month closure of Tomas Claudio Bridge to vehicular traffic. Spot.ph reported Metro Manila Development Authority’s (MMDA) announcement that closing the bridge in Pandacan, Manila is necessary to accommodate the construction of Skyway Stage 3 Elevated Expressway Project.

“Starting Saturday, August 3, at 10 pm, Tomas Claudio Bridge will be closed for the next six months,” Jojo Garcia, general manager of MMDA stated in a press briefing.

Considering that the Tomas Claudio bridge serves as many as 12,000 vehicles each day, the closure could lead to drastically worsened traffic. Hence, to lessen its impact, Garcia instructed traffic enforcers who were assigned in the area to hold clearing operations on particular alternate routes with the assistance of barangay officials. 

According to Garcia, no parking would be allowed within the bridge’s vicinity 24/7, and any vehicle parked in the said location would be towed.

Bienvenido “Benny” Abante Jr., Manila 6th District Representative also participated in the briefing. He shared his expectation for private contractors of the construction to push for the project’s timely completion, in order to make the bridge available to motorists and commuters as early as possible.

“I am also calling on the Manila Police District to coordinate with MMDA and the affected barangays to follow the regulations of the MMDA…(to) rid the alternate routes of illegally-parked vehicles,” Abante added.

However, Alberta Suansing, the Department of Transportation (DoTr) Road Sector consultant affirmed that the Skyway Stage 3 Elevated Expressway is forecasted to be finished by first quarter of the year 2020. Additionally, Suansing said that they would try to significantly reduce the inconveniences caused by the project.

Light Vehicles are Allowed

It’s important to note that full closure of the Tomas Claudio Bridge was intended only for motorists who aim to traverse its entire expanse. On the other hand, light vehicles owned by residents of Pandacan and nearby areas would be allowed to pass portions of the bridge on both southbound and northbound lanes, starting from Valenzuela Street to Beata Street.

Recommended Routes

Garcia ordered drivers of heavy automobiles such as trailers and trucks to take Jesus Street instead, then Quirino Avenue to their respective destinations.

As for those traveling from South Luzon Expressway, Quirino Avenue, and Roxas Boulevard, they are expected to take this route: 

  • Start from East Zamora Street
  • Head straight to Labores Street
  • Turn right on Jesus Street and Laura Street
  • Turn left on Jacinto-Zamora Bridge, toward desired destination.

For those heading to Quirino Avenue or Roxas Boulevard, MMDA recommends:

  • Take Lubiran Road
  • Turn right on the New Panaderos Extension, leading to Pedro Gil Street
  • From Tejeron Street, go straight to Dr. M. Carreon Street then to Menandro Street
  • Turn right on Laura street

For those entering through Old Sta. Mesa and Jacinto-Zamora Bridge:

  • Counterflow at the newly opened median island
  • Turn left on Beata Street toward destination

For automobiles from Quirino Avenue, heading to Sta. Mesa, the suggested route would be:

  • Enter through East Zamora Street
  • Go straight to Labores Street
  • Turn right on Jesus Street and continue towards Paco to Sta. Mesa Road
  • Go through Jacinto-Zamora Bridge, toward destination

Alternatively, they may traverse the common route from Ramon Magsaysay Boulevard to Sta. Mesa.

The Worsening of Metro Manila Traffic

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you’re most likely aware of the severity of traffic conditions in Metro Manila. In fact, according to a study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), as reported by Rappler, the city has the third-worst traffic in Southeast Asia. 

To make things worse, the results of the BCG survey also indicated that 84% of respondents in Metro Manila plan to purchase an automobile in the next 5 years, which can largely affect vehicular traffic. Additionally, there’s the contribution of rapidly expanding urbanization centralized on Metro Manila that can lead to increased constraints.

To maneuver against this crisis, various initiatives are being introduced and implemented by the local government. Moreover, road situations such as bridge closures would require changes in routing. Full cooperation is imperative for all motorists. 

Sources: Spot.ph, MMDA, Rappler
Main photo via Google Maps

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