Davao-Samal bridge a plus for tourism

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Island link The proposed Samal Island-Davao City Bridge Project is touted as a game changer in the pursuit of tourist or visitor arrival numbers. contributed photo

DAVAO CITY-An official of the Davao Travel Agents Association (DTAA) considers the construction of the Davao-Samal bridge a plus factor for the city’s tourism as the bulk of tourists prefer the resorts on the Island Garden City of Samal (IGACOS).

“As a tourism player, establishing a bridge that will link Davao to Samal is a great factor and we encourage the local government officials to speed this up because right now the big problem is it takes a long time for the ferry to travel to the island. And there is only a (small) number of boats going to Samal,” said Joy Loyola, DTAA president at a public forum on Wednesday.
She said Samal has always been a popular destination for tourists, particularly the Chinese.
Billed as the Samal Island-Davao City Connector Project with the Department of Public Works and Highways as the implementing agency, the project involves the construction of a bridge with an approximate length of 1.8 kilometers. A full feasibility study and detailed engineering design is ongoing.

The construction of the Davao-Samal bridge came up after a study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) entitled The Study on the Davao Integrated Development Program (DIDP) Master Planning recommended a bridge connecting the city and Samal due to the island’s high potential as a high-grade residential development, industrial state and cultural financial center under the BIMP-EAGA scheme.

Recently, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) regional director Maria Lourdes Lim said the construction of a tunnel is one of the design options in the construction of the Davao-Samal bridge due to geophysical limitations.

Lim said there is a certain height for flight path to be cleared as well as navigational clearance for the vessels passing through the Davao Gulf, particularly the Pakiputan Strait. With these physical constraints, it might not feasible to have a bridge but a tunnel as an option that is being considered in the feasibility study.

“Bridge or tunnel, it does not matter as long as convenience is concerned. We would welcome it,” Loyola said.

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