Switch-on launch of San Juanico Bridge aesthetic lighting rescheduled for August

The Samar provincial government has pushed back the official switch-on of the San Juanico Bridge aesthetic lighting project. The updated completion date has been moved back due to the need for some modifications according to the Samar tourism office. The local government is aiming for August 11 in time for the 180th Samar Day celebration.

Contractors hope to complete the electrical lighting wiring by April, with construction at the substation completed by June. AsiaPhil Inc. is in charge of building the PHP14-million power substation that will power the bridge’s aesthetic lights, while Amigo Entertainment Technologies Inc. is in charge of installing them.

AsiaPhil discovered a lighting compatibility problem on the original substation. In order to counter this, the contractor added a neutral busbar to the LV switchgear and modified the secondary control cables.

The Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Authority (TIEZA) financed the PHP80-million San Juanico Aesthetic Lighting project, which was approved in 2018, with bidding beginning in 2019 and groundwork beginning the same year. The project was scheduled to be finished in 2020, but it was pushed back due to technical challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

A test run was conducted in December 2020, during which flaws were discovered, resulting in a change in the turn-over date.

If the improvement is successful, the contractor will do another test run before handing over the cosmetic lighting to the provincial government for official activation. The contractor requested a 90-day extension earlier this year to repair the power link from the substation to the bridge.

Amigo Entertainment Technologies Inc. discovered an issue during the switch-on test run from mid-December 2020 to January 2021.

It has been proposed to change the substation situated in one of the islets underneath the bridge in order to optimize the use of power supply and efficient operations and reliable supply to the lighting requirements of the San Juanico Bridge.

Under the original plan, the lighting would be in the default position for 45 minutes every hour in white and strobe lights. There will be 10-minute light shows six times nightly. Colors will also change depending on special occasions such as red for Valentine’s Day, red and green for Christmas, and violet for Lent.

Officials have ensured that the lights would not disrupt traffic movement at the bridge because they are not apparent to passing commuters.

The bridge’s transformation will be a modern destination under the Spark Samar branding initiative, which was unveiled by the Samar provincial government in 2015.

The San Juanico Bridge, which connects Samar and Leyte Islands, was opened in December 1972. It was constructed over the San Juanico Strait, the world’s narrowest navigational strait. The 2.162-kilometer-long bridge was constructed as part of the Pan-Philippine Highway, now known as the Maharlika Highway, a network of highways, bridges, and sea routes connecting the islands of Luzon, Samar, Leyte, and Mindanao.

Photo credit: Department of Tourism (DOT) Region 8. The lighted San Juanico during a test run in December 2020.