A portion of the bridge collapsed on October 20 at around 4p.m. as the dump truck loaded with sand and the elf truck loaded with fertilizer traversed the southbound lane of the Carlos P. Romulo Bridge at the same time.
Both trucks, which were heading to Camiling, Tarlac, fell down with the bridge portion to an estimated 30 feet deep.
Drivers and passengers of both trucks sustained injuries and they were immediately taken to the Bayambang District Hospital for medical treatment and they are now in stable condition.
COL Jeff Fanged, officer-in-charge of Pangasinan Police Provincial Office, identified the injured as Roger Solomon, driver of the elf truck and its passenger Cesario Del Rosario, both of Brgy. Bobon 2nd, Camiling, Tarlac.
The dump truck driver was identified as Richard Pecson, 32, of Brgy. San Vicente, San Jacinto, Pangasinan and his passenger Ronico Yanes, 23, of Brgy. Lasip, Lingayen, Pangasinan.
In a statement, DPWH Ilocos regional director Ronnel Tan said the two overloaded vehicles caused the bridge to totally collapse.
“The condition of the bridge is fair, meaning there are no visible major defects,” Tan said.
He said the bridge, constructed in 1945, has a load limit of 20 tons but the two trucks – a 12-wheeler dump truck and a six-wheeler elf truck – weighed about 63.3 tons and six tons, respectively.
The maintenance crew of Pangasinan Fourth District Engineering Office immediately placed the necessary warning signs to inform the motorists and pedestrians plying the route, he said.
“A bailey bridge that will serve as a temporary route will be installed in two weeks’ time,” he added.
In the meantime, all motorists are advised to use the Bayambang-San Carlos-Aguilar Road via Bocboc Bridge-Mangatarem, and vice versa as an alternate route while the former Wawa Bridge is being repaired.
Motorists can also take Carmen Junction-Manat Road (National Road), take Bayambang-Bautista-Alcala-Sto. Tomas-Carmen, Rosales Road/Manila North Road (Rosales-Tarlac), and vice versa.
For light vehicles, the alternate routes are the following: Bayambang-San Carlos-Urbiztondo-Mangatarem and vice versa; Bayambang-Bautista-Moncada-
The local government of Bayambang arranged free transportation from Barangay San Vicente to the Bayambang Municipal Hall and vice-versa for affected students, workers, and individuals while the guidelines for riding a motorized boat to pass through the river were also set.
Bayambang Mayor Mary Clare Judith Phyllis “Niña” Jose-Quiambao advised those who wish to use the boat to abide by the following conditions: passengers should wear life vests, they can only travel during the day (6 a.m. to 5 p.m.), there should be no rain or strong water currents, and children under the age of 12 are not allowed to ride.
Jose-Quiambao earlier warned motorists and residents not to go to the bridge, saying it was dangerous because it was unstable.
She also advised the students of Bayambang National High School, Wawa Elementary School, Bayambang Central School, and Pangasinan State University to be excused from physical classes and have online classes while the bridge is under repair.
“For those who have their water supply cut off, please be advised that Bayambang Water District is already in the area trying to fix the line and provide temporary water,” the mayor said. (PIA Pangasinan) BY: APRIL M. MONTES-BRAVO