The Samar provincial government has reset the date for the formal switch-on of the San Juanico Bridge aesthetic lighting project.
The need for some modification pushed the project’s revised completion date, Samar tourism operations officer John Michael Cristobal said in a phone interview Wednesday.
“We are targeting August 11 in time for the 180th Samar Day celebration, but this is not definite yet as it changes depending on the development,” Cristobal told the Philippine News Agency.
Contractors are targeting to finish the electrical lighting wiring this April while works at the substation are targeted to be finished by June.
AsiaPhil Inc. is the firm behind the construction of the PHP14-million power substation that will energize the bridge’s aesthetic lights while Amigo Entertainment Technologies Inc. is the contractor tasked to install the lights.
“The contractor, AsiaPhil found a compatibility issue on the existing substation with the lighting. To address this, they installed an additional neutral busbar to the LV switchgear, and they also did a modification on the secondary power cables,” said Brett Delos Santos, Samar provincial investment and trade promotions officer, in a separate interview.
The PHP80-million San Juanico Aesthetic Lighting project is funded by the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Authority (TIEZA) and was approved in 2018, with bidding that started in 2019, and groundworks that began in the same year.
The project was supposed to be completed in 2020 but was delayed due to logistical hurdles brought by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
A test run was held in December 2020 where glitches were identified, causing an adjustment in the turn-over date.
AsiaPhil is targeting to start their two-week modification work by the second week of May, according to Delos Santos.
If the modification is a success, the contractor will again do a test run before turning it over to the provincial government for the official switch-on of the aesthetic lighting.
Early this year, the contractor has asked for a 90-day extension to fix the power connection from the substation to the bridge.
Amigo Entertainment Technologies Inc., found the problem when they turned the lights on for a test run from mid-December 2020 to January 2021.
It was suggested to modify the substation located in one of the islets below the bridge to optimize the use of power supply and efficient operations and reliable supply to the lighting requirements of the San Juanico Bridge.
Under the initial plan, the lighting will be in the default position for 45 minutes per hour in white and strobe lights. There will be a 10-minute light show six times nightly.
The colors may also depend on the occasion, such as red for Valentine’s, red and green for Christmas, and violet for Lent.
Officials assured that lights will not distract traffic flow at the bridge as the aesthetic lights are not visible to passing motorists.
The bridge’s transformation would be a new attraction under the Spark Samar, a branding campaign of the local government that was launched in 2015.
The San Juanico Bridge was built in August 1969 over the San Juanico Strait, the narrowest navigational strait in the world that separates Samar and Leyte Islands, and was completed in December 1972.
The bridge, which spans 2.162 kilometers, was built as part of the Pan-Philippine Highway now called the Maharlika Highway, a network of roads, bridges, and sea routes that connect the islands of Luzon, Samar, Leyte, and Mindanao. (PNA)