CEBU CITY, Philippines – The long-awaited Cebu Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) is nearing completion as it was 75 percent built on June 17, 2021.
In a factory tour organized by the Cebu City Link Expressway Corporation (CCLEC) and the Metro Pacific Tollway Corporation (MPTC), they presented the ongoing construction of the bridge that would connect the city of Cordova with Cebu City and is now almost halfway across the Mactan- Channel meets.
Robert Uthwatt, the COWI project manager, said the gap between the two sides of the bridge is only 104 meters and they expect to close that gap by November 2021.
Once the sides of the bridge are connected, the bridge will be passable and other structures will follow.
The target for the expressway to operate would be around February 2022, although many factors can influence that target date, including typhoons, unpredictable weather, and the pandemic.
“We are aiming for the last week of February to the first week of March 2022. That’s the goal, ”said Uthwatt.
Work on the main bridge is now proceeding with 41 of 65 stay cables. The girder installations using the start portal and plank installations will also be carried out continuously on the on and off ramp extensions of the Cebu South Coastal Road (CSCR).
At the Cordova Viaduct, the girder installations, including the dam work for the dam, are in full swing. The four low-lying bridges that will serve as access to the fishing grounds for the Cordova fishermen are almost complete.
Although it may take more than six months for Cebuanos to finally cross the 8-kilometer expressway, the CCLEC said it is trying its best to complete the project as soon as possible, given the restrictions caused by the pandemic.
The CCLEX construction was recently awarded the Safety Seal by the Ministry of Labor and Employment (DOLE) after successfully containing the 2019 Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) situation on the construction site.
Daniel Muñoz, the project manager for the Cebu Link Joint Venture (CLJV), said the pandemic was challenging for them as they employed over 2,000 workers.
They housed the workers and divided them into shifts to ensure isolation between groups of workers and reduce the likelihood of transmission.
Workers have also been provided with transportation so they aren’t too exposed to the rest of the city, reducing the chance of the virus being transmitted.
Of the cases reported on the website, these were immediately treated according to government protocols and no outbreaks have been recorded to date.
Still, the pandemic has certainly impacted the construction schedule, as reduced labor means less progress.
MPTC President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Rodrigo Franco said the project had been delayed due to the pandemic.
“Because of the protocols, it’s difficult to implement social distancing, other protocols, right away. It really affected the project. Without the pandemic, we would have completed the project much earlier, ”said Franco.
Still, CCLEC and the companies helping build the iconic bridge are hoping that Cebuanos can wait a little longer as the expressway is an infrastructure worth waiting for. / rcg
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