Santo Niño bridge defines Philippine city in historic 2021
Imagine one looking out from the window of a plane approaching the Mactan-Cebu International Airport one evening in 2020. Standing above the sea, a welcoming beam of light forming a giant cross. Nearby on the sea surface radiates a colossal light ring. Wow! The Santo Niño bridge shall define Cebu City as the country celebrates its fifth centennial.
At daytime, one marvels at the sight of artistically designed ramps towards the vast South Road Properties (SRP), some 300 hectares of prime real estate in Cebu City.
If not now, you would soon agree. The Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway or CCLEX, or according to Secretary Adelino Sitoy as the Santo Niño bridge, would become an iconic landmark that defines Cebu City.
More significant, this happens when the world marks 500 years since the arrival of explorer Ferdinand Magellan in Cebu and the birth of Christianity in South East Asia.
Think Cebu with such an iconic landmark before the global stage.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte
Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte led the groundbreaking last March 2, 2017 of the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) that spans the third 8.25 kilometer bridge linking Mactan Island to mainland Cebu.
With construction costs estimated at PHP 27 billion, CCLEX will soon be the third bridge linking Cebu mainland and Mactan Island but the first that would connect the town of Cordova and Cebu City. Today, Cordova and Cebu City today is some 20.5 kilometers apart. By the time CCLEX will be finished by 2020, it brings down the distance to only 8.25 kilometers – the longest so far in the Philippines, which is an archipelago of over 7,000 islands.
The project seeks to ease the traffic in Metro Cebu especially around the two existing bridges— Marcelo Fernan Bridge and Mandaue Bridge. CCLEX includes the main bridge structure, viaduct, causeway, roadway and toll facilities. Located around 7.5 km south of the first Mandaue Bridge, it will take off from the Cebu South Coastal Road at the prime South Road Properties (SRP) crossing the Mactan channel to Mactan Island.
Osmeña and Sitoy
The President was joined by Manny Pangilinan, chairman of the Metro Pacific Tollways Development Corporation (MPTDC), Secretary Adelino Sitoy, presidential adviser for legislative affairs, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, Cordova town Mayor Mary Therese Sitoy-Cho, Jose Maria Lim, president and CEO of Metro Pacific Investment Corp., and Rodrigo Franco, president of Metro Pacific Tollways Development Corp.
Secretary Sitoy, who was also mayor of Cordova, welcomed the guests followed by messages from Mayor Osmeña and Pangilinan. Sitoy and Osmeña are the two local government co-grantors with MPTDC as the private proponent in this private-public partnership project.
Senyor Santo Niño
Rodrigo E. Franco, president of Metro Pacific Tollways Development Corp. (MPTDC), proudly presented features of CCLEX during the press conference after the groundbreaking.
As he said, construction began in July 2017. He hoped it will be done by 2020.
Why finish CCLEX in 2020? Mr. Franco said, they want the bridge finished in time for the 2021 celebration of the 5th centennial or 500th anniversary of the arrival of the conquistador Ferdinand Magellan in Cebu and the arrival of Christianity, not only in the Philippines but also in South East Asia.
World history marks Mactan Island as the place where the native chieftain Lapu-Lapu killed the Magellan in 1521. He led the Spanish expedition that first circumnavigated the world. He also brought Christianity to this part of the world. In fact, Magellan and gifted Cebu with the popular, albeit the oldest, religious relic and icon, Senyor Santo Niño.
Today, Cebu in central Philippines is known as the cradle of Christianity in Southeast Asia along with ASEAN’s biggest Catholic festival called the Sinulog festival and the feast of Senyor Santo Niño.
Secretary Sitoy has proposed that the bridge be named “Senyor Sto. Niño.”
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