San Juanico Bridge
The San Juanico Bridge (also known as Marcos Bridge) is among the longest bridges in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia, with a total length of 2.2 kilometers (1.36 miles). It has 43 spans rising 41 meters above sea level and an arch that allows sea vessels to pass beneath it.
It was slightly damaged by Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013 but has already been repaired.
The bridge is part of the Pan-Philippine Highway (Maharlika Highway). It crosses San Juanico Strait, bridging the islands of Samar and Leyte. It connects Tacloban City on the Leyte side and the town of Santa Rita on the Samar side. It takes approximately 10 minutes to cross from Tacloban City by passenger jeepney, bus, or private vehicle.
The strait below the bridge has numerous islets and whirlpools that offers picturesque views. It is popularly believed that this bridge was presented by the late President Ferdinand Marcos to his first lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos as a testimony of his love.
San Juanico Bridge was built during the Marcos administration. The actual construction of the bridge was commissioned to the Philippine National Construction Corporation (formerly known as Construction and Development Corporation of the Philippines) along with Japanese engineers in 1968. It was designed by engineer Arvin Valderrama and Christian Meynard Barnal and constructed over San Juanico Strait from Cabalawan, Tacloban City to the municipality of Santa Rita, Samar in 1969. It was completed in December 1972, with a final budget of USD 21.9 million, and inaugurated on 2 July 1973. Since its completion, the bridge has greatly helped the economy not only of the provinces connected but of the entire country as well.
- It was once called Marcos Bridge because it was built under his administration.
- It was also dubbed “The Bridge of Love.”
- The USD 21.9 million worth of bridge was completed within four years of construction.
- It crosses the narrowest strait in the Philippines, the San Juanico Strait.
- To prove his position as the King of Stunts in the Philippines, Dante Varona, jumped off the Bridge in 1981. The most daring stunt was filmed by director Carlo J. Caparas.
- About Php 30,000 to Php 35,000 worth of bronze electrical wiring were stolen from the bridge on 17 February 2014.
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