KALAKLAN LIGHTHOUSE BRIDGE WILL REMAIN OPEN TO LIGHT VEHICLES
Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Administrator Armand C. Arreza has assured Olongapo City Mayor James “Bong” Gordon, Jr. that the Kalaklan Lighthouse Bridge which connects the Freeport to Olongapo and Zambales in the north will no longer be closed as planned during the construction of a new bridge beside the old one.
“We’ll keep it open per your request,” said Arreza in a message to Mayor Gordon on Monday.
“Mayor, as we discussed last Friday, we’ll just reinforce Kalaklan Lighthouse Bridge to keep it open,” Arreza said in a text message when Mayor Gordon inquired on a plan to conduct a load test on the bridge to determine its current capacity. “We’ll just reinforce Kalaklan Lighthouse bridge to keep it open.”
Arreza also said the load test has been cancelled since it will only cause further damage to the concrete piles and that since they have no sensors, the test will be useless.
Earlier, SBMA has announced that the Kalaklan Lighthouse Bridge will be closed to vehicular traffic on Feb. 15 and pedestrians on March 1, 2010 until construction of a new bridge has been completed about a year later. This has caused an uproar from several sectors both in and out of the Freeport but specially from Olongapo businessmen who foresee a resulting monstrous daily traffic jam in the narrow streets of the city proper.
The protests were fueled more when it was learned that the old bridge will not be demolished yet while construction of the new one is ongoing but, instead, will be closed for the use of the contractor which bagged the contract for the construction of the new P200M bridge.
The U.S. Navy built old bridge which was constructed over 50 years ago has allegedly weakened with wear and tear through time. It has been closed to heavy vehicles but has been kept open to light vehicles and pedestrians for about a year now.
Another major bridge linking the Freeport to Olongapo through R.M. Drive - the Main Gate bridge, has been closed to vehicular traffic for almost 2 years now for the same reason of alleged weakened structure.
Mayor Bong Gordon has been making representations with the SBMA to keep Kalaklan Lighthouse Bridge open, at least to light vehicles, to avert a potential traffic disaster in Olongapo City.