TACLOBAN CITY – The contractor of the San Juanico Aesthetic Lighting project is running a final test run for five nights in preparation for the formal unveiling of the new attraction early next year.
Governor Reynolds Michael Tan said in a press briefing Thursday night that glitches are expected and these will be addressed during the final nightly test run from Dec. 10 to Dec. 15.
The lights will be turned off on Dec. 16 and it will be opened again on the grand launching early of January, Tan said.
“Because of the pandemic, I know a lot of people are eager to come here to see these lights. It will not happen this December, but early next year since we will be threshing out also the existing glitches that we have right now,” he said.
Tan explained that glitches happened because it is the first time that the lights were connected to the mainline of the Samar Electric Cooperative.
The contractor previously used a generator set when they switched on the aesthetic lights in the past test runs.
Installation of the lights in the bridge is done by span. The bridge has 43 steel spans with its primary span measuring 192 meters.
The PHP80 million San Juanico Aesthetic Lighting project funded by the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Authority (TIEZA) was approved in 2018, with bidding that started in 2019, and groundworks that began early this year.
The project was awarded to Amigo Entertainment Technologies Inc. and had its groundbreaking in July 2019.
It was initially targeted for completion in the second quarter of this year but was affected by the restriction imposed by the government due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Samar 2nd district Rep. Sharee Ann Tan pushed for the project in 2015 during her term as governor.
“Why this project was proposed? Initially, it’s because we want to have a magnet that will attract more tourists to come to Samar. This is not only a lighting, but it is also supported by a boardwalk to be placed along the mangrove area of Sta. Rita, Samar. We expect to see pop up stores, restaurants, coffee shops, among other businesses that will create economic activities for the people of Samar,” Department of Tourism Regional Director Karina Rosa Tiopes added.
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)