Southeast Asian countries have been quite active in developing bridges and expressways to reduce travel time between economically important locations. A lot of bridge construction initiatives are being taken in the Philippines and Myanmar with support from multilateral funding agencies and from neighbouring countries, in addition to the government’s own budgetary resources.
Southeast Asia Infrastructure looks at some of the key upcoming bridges and expressways in the Philippines and Myanmar…
The $125.52 million Panguil Bay Bridge project is proposed to connect Tangub City, Misamis Occidental, and Tubod, Lanao del Norte, in northern Mindanao. The bridge will reduce the travel time between Tangub and Tubod to seven minutes, from the current two to two and a half hours. The project consists of a main bridge and two approach bridges including an access road. The bridge section of the project consists of the 320 metre main bridge of the extradosed type and the 1,920 metre approach bridge of the PSC Box Girder type with two lanes. The road section includes an 861 metre approach road from the Tangub and Tubod sides. As of June 9, 2021, over 11 per cent of work had been completed on the project. It is expected to be completed by December 2023. The project is being implemented with loan assistance from the Korean Economic Development Co-operation Fund (EDCF). The construction work on the project has been awarded to the Namkwang-Kukdong-Gumwang joint venture (JV). The reverse circulation drill, PC house and climbing form methods are being used for the foundation and substructure of the Panguil Bay Bridge. Besides, the incremental launching method for the approach bridge, free cantilevering method for the main bridge and multi-strand method for the cable will be used.
Apart from the Panguil Bay Bridge, some of the other key projects being implemented by the Philippines’ Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) are the Bataan-Cavite Interlink Bridge and the Samal-Davao City connector. The 32 km Bataan-Cavite Interlink Bridge is a priority project under the government’s Build, Build, Build programme. The project is being developed at an estimated investment of $3.6 billion. It is being built on Manila Bay to reduce the travel time between Baatan and Cavite from five hours to 40 minutes. The Samal-Davao City connector will be a two-way, four-lane, 3.86 km bridge in the southern corridor to connect the Island Garden City of Samal to Davao City across the Pakiputan Strait. The main bridge is 1.62 km long and will be designed in a cable-stayed structure with twin towers and double cable planes.The project is being funded by China and is expected to be completed in about 60 months.
As of March 2020, Myanmar had a road network of over 42,300 km, of which about 74.5 per cent is paved. According to KOICA demand-based Master Plan, $42.5 billion will be needed for road and bridge infrastructure until 2035. The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) National Economic Development report estimated a much higher investment requirement of $60.5 billion in the transportation sector in Myanmar, based on economic analysis. Currently, Myanmar is planning the construction of seven expressways from east to west and five expressways from north to south. As part of this 7×5 expressway network plan, the government has prioritised construction of six expressway packages – the 589 km Yangon-Mandalay four-lane expressway, being implemented at a cost of $560 million, the 460 km four-lane Mandalay-Myitkyinar expressway at a cost of $1.87 billion, the 811 km four-lane Pathein-Monywa-Shwebo road at a cost of $2.03 billion, the 350 km Minbu-Ann-Kyaukphyu expressway at a cost of $875 million, the 304 km, four-lane Yangon-Pathein-Ngayokekaung expressway at a cost of $760 million, and the 135 km four-lane Thilawa-Thanatpin-Kyeikhto road at a cost of $338 million.
The country is also implementing various bridge projects with loan assistance from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), EDCF, and other multilateral funding agencies. The Bago River Bridge project in Thanlyin township of Yangon division is being funded from a JPY 31.05 million loan assistance from JICA, and is expected to be completed by February 2022. The 2.03 km project has been awarded in three packages to Tokyu Construction Company Limited and a JV of Sumitomo Mitsui Corporation Limited and the Yokogawa Bridge Corporation. So far, over 55 per cent of the construction work has been completed on Packages I and II of the project. The Myanmar-Korea Friendship Bridge is another key project, being implemented at a construction cost of $136.8 million. The project has been awarded to GS Engineering & Construction and is expected to be completed by October 2022. Myanmar is also implementing the Gote Hteik Bridge project as a public-private-partnership (PPP) project. The project involves construction of a 670 metre cable-stayed main bridge with a 210 metre approach bridge on the Mandalay-Lashio-Muse highway at a cost of $104.9 million. The Chinese-funded New Kun Long Bridge is a 286 metre balanced cantilever-type, prestressed concrete box girder bridge, which is being constructed at a cost of Yuan 137 million. Currently, over 35 per cent of the construction work has been completed on the project; it is likely to be completed by early 2023. Meanwhile, India is funding the construction of the 152.4 metre Bwainu River Bridge on the Myanmar border. Of the total cost of $2.5 million, $0.5 million will be contributed by the Myanmar government, while $2 million will be provided by India. One of the longest upcoming bridges in the country, the 2.27 km Ayeyarwaddy Bridge (Thayet-Aunglan) is currently under construction and is expected to entail an investment of $65 million. Various other bridges are being constructed in the country with JICA loan assistance as part of the East-West Economic Corridor improvement project.
In the Southeast Asian countries, implementation of new expressway projects on a PPP basis will serve as a key opportunity area for private road developers. However, the development of expressways and bridges comes with its own set of challenges. To name a few, issues with timely and hindrance-free land acquisition, timely clearances and approvals, and effective implementation of a sound PPP framework continue to plague road and bridge development in less developed economies. Besides, limited budgetary resources in such countries increase their reliance on funding from other countries. Going forward, countries like Myanmar and the Philippines will need more financial support from international development partners like JICA, EDCF, the World Bank, ADB, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the International Finance Corporation, etc.
Based on inputs from presentations by Soo Young Park, Deputy Team Leader/Senior Bridge Engineer, Pyunghwa Engineering Consultants Limited and Kyaw Kaung Cho, Deputy Director General (Planning), Department of Bridge, Ministry of Construction, Myanmar at a recent Southeast Asia Infrastructure conference.