Manila Bay Bridge Cavite Bataan Interlink Bridge
An artist's redering of the planned Manila Bay mega-bridge. Once completed, the 32.15-km bridge will be one of the world's longest marine bridges. Image Credit: ADB

Manila: In a major boost to infastructure build-up in the Philippines, the funding package of up to $2.1 billion (about 118 billion pesos) to build the 32.15-km bridge crossing the Manila Bay has been greenlighted, it was announced on Tuesday.

Dubbed as a "climate-resilient bridge", the link will connect Bataan and Cavite provinces across the bay area, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which has packaged the loan for the mega link. The ADB loan accounts for about half of the total project cost.

Known as the Bataan–Cavite Interlink Bridge (BCIB) Project, the $4.4-billion suspension bridge is a key government infrastructure initiative seen transforming the provinces of Bataan and Cavite, alleviating congestion in Metro Manila, curbing emissions from transport and boosting the country's industrial belt.

Besides enhancing mobility for goods and labour, bypassing Manila, the bridge is expected to elevate economic productivity in the greater central and southern Luzon regions, potentially reconfiguring the economic tragectory of its productive industries.

By connecting the immediaete provinces around Manila Bay, the BCIB completes a vital transport loop and reinforces links between Metro Manila and central Luzon, as well as neighbouring industrial areas around Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon), according to the Manila-based bank.

Bridge building

Expected to catalyse economic activity in regions contributing to 60 per cent of the national GDP, the project underscores ADB's commitment to fortifying urban and regional transport networks.

The BCIB's impact extends beyond travel time reduction, offering potential solutions for decongesting traffic, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and creating a resilient and dynamic greater Manila Bay area.

The BCIB project, financed through a multitranche facility, with an initial tranche of $650 million, is set to curb travel times, making the journey between Bataan and Cavite significantly more efficient.

One of the world's longest marine bridges

The construction of one of the world's longest marine bridges, featuring cable-stayed spans, marine viaducts, and extensive approach roads, will not only connect regions but also foster economic growth and environmental sustainability.

ADB's adherence to high technical standards, coupled with a focus on climate resilience and low-carbon technologies, underscores its dedication to a prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable Asia-Pacific region.

• With a total project cost estimated at $4.4 billion (245.2 billion pesos), according to Philippine inance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno, the ADB is expected to support about half at $2.1 billion under a Multi-Tranche Financing Facility.

• The initial tranche loan, signed on December 15, allocates $650 million to facilitate the commencement of the project by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

• The ADB plays a crucial role in supporting the detailed engineering design for the BCIB project through the Infrastructure Preparation and Innovation Facility (IPIF). This facility aids in preparing project activities for various infrastructure flagship projects, ensuring their readiness for implementation.

• Both the IPIF and IPIF-AF1 have been instrumental in supporting the preparation of 16 infrastructure flagship projects from the previous administration, expediting the current government’s initiatives in this domain.

• The Philippine News Agency reported on December 15, 2023 the total project cost at $3.9-billion, to be "co-financed" by the Manila-based ADB and the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which will provide $1.14 billion (Php63.54 billion).

• The Philippine government will finance the remaining $664.23 million (Php 37 billion).