By Emmie V. Abadilla
The EBD Bridge of Progress in Gulod Labac, Batangas City, which can endure floodwaters as high as those from Typhoon Ondoy and withstand powerful earthquakes, the country’s first “segmented box girder” bridge, is now open to motorists.
The new bridge, named after Batangas’ former mayor Eduardo B. Dimacuha, spans 140 meters with four lanes and connects the poblacion to the eastern part of the city.
Abroad, box girder-type bridges are commonly used for highway flyovers, elevated light rail transport and signature type cable-stayed bridges. The new EBD bridge incorporated pylons into its architectural design although it is not a cable-stayed structure.
Furthermore, the state-of-the-art concrete post-tensioning employed in the construction of the bridge will enable it to withstand extreme seismic events.
In the event of a strong earthquake, the expansion joints of the bridge will allow a longitudinal temporary displacement up to 40 centimeters, which is about twice the movement tolerated in other local bridges.
Filipino contractor Frey-Fil Corporation designed and built the bridge to meet the highest safety and durability standards, together with design consultant Wiecon, an international expert in bridge engineering.
EBD’s main superstructure consists of several box-shaped hollow sections fabricated off-site. Frey-Fil formed the horizontal superstructure of the bridge using 52 pieces of pre-cast box girders weighing 45 to 60 metric tons each.
These massive concrete segments were transported from Freyfil’s fabrication yard in Calumpit, Bulacan to Batangas City over a 160-kilometer distance.
Assembling the box girders was similar to attaching Lego blocks because every piece was purpose-designed to fit into each other.
Frey-Fil used match-casted segmental box girders instead of the more conventional AashtoI-girder system to allow a longer bridge center span and avoid the costly and lengthy construction of a pier in the middle of the river.
Frey-Fil is an active player in general and specialized construction. It is a major supplier for post-tensioned precast concrete girders for the ongoing Skyway 3 and the MRT-7 (North Avenue-to-San Jose Del Monte) transport improvement projects.
For Metro Manila’s west zone water concessionaire Maynilad, the company supports the construction of a water treatment plant with a 150 million liter per day (MLD) capacity for 1.2 million customers in Muntinlupa, Las Piñas and Cavite.