A new bridge has been making its presence felt across the Pasig River in the past year or so! The BGC – Ortigas Center Bridge Project has been under construction for some time now. Its main span now hangs imposingly near J.P. Rizal Avenue in Makati City! The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has mentioned that it is now 45% complete. They project its completion by 2021.
History and Plans
The bridge project was part of the Aquino Administration’s plans in 2015 to connect the two cities of Pasig and Taguig. It is intended to serve as an alternative for motorists going to Bonifacio Global City (BGC) and Ortigas Center (and vice versa).
Currently, the only way to do so is either C5 or via EDSA. The original plan seemed to imply that the link goes directly from BGC all the way to Ortigas Center itself. Revised plans under the Duterte Administration’s “BuildBuildBuild” show otherwise. It will not connect directly to Ortigas Center anymore, but will instead start from the area in Barangay Kapitolyo.
Detailed, updated plans are available courtesy of the government’s Freedom of Information (FOI) Portal. As per the plans, the BGC – Ortigas Center Bridge is going to have “2×2” lanes. This means that there will be two lanes per direction. A similar bridge that is 2×2 is the Makati-Mandaluyong Bridge, for example.
Along the roadway, each lane’s width varies between 3.35 to 4.50 meters, so most vehicles can fit comfortably. Needless to say, this bridge has primarily been designed for private vehicles. There is no indication up to how heavy vehicles are allowed for this bridge.
On / Off Ramps
The bridge will have three entry points:
- The northernmost (Pasig) side will start near West Capitol Drive and Fairlane Street in Kapitolyo.
- Its southernmost (Taguig) side will terminate at the intersection of 8th Avenue and 38th Street in BGC, near the Uptown Bonifacio mall.
- A central ramp exists for those entering from Kalayaan Avenue. This is going to be located along Lawton Avenue beside the Makati City Jail. (i.e., the pylon P13/A2 in the image)
There is a provision for pedestrian sidewalk, widening to as much as 210 cm at certain points and narrowing to as little as 76 cm. For context, a sidewalk that narrow would probably just be enough for one person walking along.
It is good to see that there is a provision for a sidewalk; even though we would have wished that the width was uniform all throughout. Here’s hoping that succeeding bridge projects also grant the same level of focus to pedestrians as the motorists using it.
For a more comprehensive listing of the bridge’s features aside from the prominent features mentioned above, feel free to open the PDF containing the technical specifications below. Again, this is courtesy of the government’s e-FOI Portal:
From a bike commuter’s perspective
How we wish road projects are also well-designed with bicyclists in mind! (and pedestrians too!)
As a bike commuter, this bridge project will still be beneficial. How? In spite of the fact that motorists are the priority in this bridge project, bike commuters like us also benefit in that we also get to have an alternate route going to Taguig aside from C5 and EDSA. Going to BGC from Pasig? Today, you choose your poison — due west is EDSA with its speeding buses and trucks, and due east is C5, with mostly speeding private vehicles. Either way, biking is stressful and a bit dangerous. Even walking your bike along the Guadalupe Bridge on EDSA is stressful, if not impossible — the cage put up by the MMDA barely allows two persons from walking on it! How much more if you’re on your bike and walking it along?
Don’t expect also that finishing this bridge will miraculously remove heavy traffic. It’s still likely that it’s there to stay, what with all our mass transit projects still underway. But with heavy traffic, bike commuting becomes a bit more bearable (ironically!), given the slower movement of motor vehicles around.
What’s important is that accessibility is not limited to those on cars. Pedestrians as well as people on bikes also deserve to have a piece in this public utility.
Visual Field Trip
People have taken notice of the humongous structure, and some of them have documented it from the air! Dmitrivalencia in particular has done a pretty good coverage of the bridge in recent months. You can watch his latest eye-in-the-sky coverage below!
We all hope to resolve the traffic mess that plagues Metro Manila. For better or for worse, the BGC – Ortigas Center Bridge will complete in a few years’ time, linking the two business districts for motor vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians. Hopefully it gets completed quite soon, as all of us will definitely benefit with another bridge spanning the Pasig River.