Motorists passing through the Gilbert Bridge were advised on Friday to brace for traffic as a portion of the four-lane bridge will be closed starting Saturday to give way to retrofitting and rehabilitation work.
District Engineer Glenn Miguel of the DPWH First Ilocos Norte District Engineering Office said in an interview Friday the retrofitting may cause inconvenience to motorists due to traffic build-up on the bridge during rush hour, especially when there are major activities in downtown Laoag.
He said two lanes of the bridge (northbound) will first be closed starting Saturday, with the other two lanes (southbound) being open for both directions.
Miguel said the PHP4-million budget for the bridge repair will be taken from the 2024 budget but “the winning bidder has agreed to implement the repair ahead of the release of the budget, hence, the rehabilitation works (are) starting on Saturday.”
The engineer said the rehabilitation work may be completed in two months after the contractor replaces the bridge’s metal expansion joints and puts an asphalt overlay.
Miguel assured the public that the DPWH will be closely working with the city government to minimize traffic inconvenience while the bridge is undergoing repair.
In an advisory on social media on Thursday, the DPWH said, “all vehicles may use the Rodolfo G. Farinas Jr. bypass road as an alternative route while the activity is ongoing.”
Laoag City Mayor Michael Keon on Friday expressed gratitude to the DPWH Region 1 for acting swiftly on the city government’s request to speed up the rehabilitation of the bridge.
Over the years, the Gilbert Bridge has earned the tag “killer bridge” for claiming innocent lives due to the presence of joining holes, causing road accidents in the area.
Constructed in 1884 and named after then Governor Newton Gilbert, its four-lane structural design was intended to suit the demands of the times. It traverses the Padsan River and serves as the “gateway” to Laoag. (Leilanie Adriano)
(Source: Philippine News Agency)