Saturday, June 4, 2011

Bugo Bridge Inauguration in Antique

The recently concluded Bugo Bridge inauguration in San Remigio, Antique, proved to be a timely blessing for many residents of the  calamity-prone region.

Constructed by Waagner-Biro Philippines Inc. (WBPI), the local subsidiary of Austria-based corporation Waagner-Biro Stahlbau AG, in partnership with the Austrian government and DPWH, the unveiling of the 430-linear meter bridge attracted curious San Remigio denizens in droves, as well as passers-by from neighboring towns.

San Remigio mayor Hon. Glenn Cabigunda expressed his gratitude for the completion of the project.  “On behalf of the San Remigionhons, I would like to thank Antique Governor Javier, his son Congressman Paolo Javier and the Austrian Embassy for their part in the realization of the new Bugo Bridge,” he said. “The bridge can boost the economy of the town.  People in the mountain barangays will no longer worry traversing high waters along Sibalom River during rainy season just to get to the town to transport their harvests.”

Governor Javier added, “I am happy that WBPI was able to finish this project ahead of schedule. They finished it on just one year and six months – one month ahead of schedule. This new bridge will not just provide the farmers easy access to the market but will also open up other opportunities with the presence of a number of waterfalls in the area that we could develop into tourism destinations.”

Local townspeople also reveled in the opening of the new bridge. One ecstatic family from San Remigio who witnessed the inauguration couldn’t contain their excitement after the official ribbon-cutting ceremony. “Ga pasalamat gid kami sang bag-o nga taytay kay dako gid ang bulig sini sa amon pangabuhi,” (We are thankful for this new bridge because our livelihood depends on it) said the family’s matriarch.  “Tungod sang taytay, mas may tiempo na kami sa amon nga mga pamilya.” (We now have more time to spend with our family).

Construction of the bridge started on October 1, 2009, and was completed last March 31, 2011 – one month ahead of schedule. The Bugo Bridge is one of 18 bridges that qualified for full turnkey construction by the Supply and Services Contract of Austrian Bridges Consortium WB + MCE, under the DPWH Construction Acceleration Project for Calamity Stricken Areas. WBPI is responsible for the overall management and implementation of the project.

The DPWH Construction Acceleration Project for Calamity Stricken Areas project started on July 7, 2008 and is scheduled to be completed on July 6, 2011. It aims to immediately replace disaster stricken bridges with structurally sound permanent steel bridges in order to sustain basic social industrial and agricultural activities, and to provide safe and faster movement of goods.

The Bugo Bridge is a milestone for WBPI as it commemorates its 15th year of operations in the country, playing a major role in projects that will serve to improve the lives of many Filipinos in the calamity-stricken area.  Other remarkable bridges constructed by DPWH using the Austrian modular steel bridging materials are: 1) 900 linear meter Calaba Bridge in Bangued, Abra; 2) 350 linear meter Jones Bridge in Jones, Isabela and 3) the 140 linear meter Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge connecting the cities of Makati and Mandaluyong in Metro Manila.

The Bugo Bridge is the latest addition to the impressive resume of Waagner-Biro’s 15-year history in the country. In 1999, Waagner-Biro Stahlbau AG signed the first contract with the Philippine government “The President’s Bridge Program Phase II – Austrian Assisted” represented by the Department of the Interior and Local Government for the supply, engineering and related services covering 306 bridges with a total length of 12,250 linear meters. This first contract was implemented within a period of 57 months in close coordination with the DILG and the Local Government Units.

In 2001, DPWH Austrian Bridges Consortium WB + MCE, signed another contract with the Philippine government represented by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) called “DPWH Bridge Construction Replacement Project – Austrian Assisted”.

This contract comprises the supply of 112 modular steel bridges including the detailed engineering of substructures and auxiliary services for a total length of 7,825 linear meters. The implementation of this project covering the national secondary road network in the Philippines took 39 months and was completed by end of July 2005.
All projects consisting of 436 bridges and a total of 21,555 linear meters were financed by Austrian export loans under the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) framework on a bilateral basis.

After so many years of presence and the successful implementation of three big bridge projects, the Austrian modular steel bridges have become well known and a trademark in the Philippines in terms of reliable and high quality steel bridge construction.

Internationally, Waagner-Biro consists of the Waagner-Biro Stahlbau AG Group with its two divisions of steel and glass construction and bridge construction; Waagner-Biro Austria Stage Systems – the most important international supplier of stage equipment; Waagner-Biro Gulf – an infrastructure specialist; and finally the British subsidiary Qualter, Hall & Co Ltd., working in the fields of mechanical engineering, bridge construction and contract manufacturing.

The bridge construction division of the Waagner-Biro Stahlbau AG Group also operates internationally in the fields of mechanical and steel construction. Waagner-Biro is a full-range supplier in the steel bridge construction area and in system bridges. The success of the Waagner-Biro Group is based on top level engineering know-how and more than 150 years experience in steel construction and mechanical engineering.

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