TACLOBAN CITY – A 52-year-old bridge in Gandara, Samar, which was built when the Maharlika Highway from Luzon to Mindanao was constructed in 1968, sustained major structural damage when it buckled under the weight of a truck carrying a crane on Thursday, October 1.

received 383082289748342 - Five-decade-old bridge sustains major damage in Samar
A 52-year-old bridge in Gandara, Samar, which was built when the Maharlika Highway from Luzon to Mindanao was constructed in 1968, sustained major structural damage when it buckled under the weight of a truck carrying a crane on Thursday, October 1. (Photo via Marie Marticio / MANILA BULLETIN)

According to Gandara Municipal Police Station Chief Capt. Joselito Tabada, the trailer truck passed the bridge, coming from the Calbayog City, and was on its way south to Catbalogan City when the incident occurred.

According to Tabada, the driver of the truck Walter Castillano did not notice a sign saying that the road was closed at the end of the bridge as part of health protocols due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

This left Castillano no choice but to turn back so that he could pass by the diversion road.

But it was while the trailer truck was backing up that the middle portion of the bridge buckled as it could not support the estimated 60-ton trailer.

Witnesses said the bridge was still able to hold up the trailer, and keep it from plunging into the Gandara River.

A video by vlogger Ronald Allan Espadero Morados of Gandara, Samar showed that a portion of the bridge beam broke, and the bridge deck also collapsed.

Morados said that the bridge was able to carry the weight of the trailer truck during its first pass, but the bridge collapsed when it turned back. 

The bridge according to Morados has a capacity of 18 tons, but the trailer truck and its cargo were estimated by the police to be at 60 tons, causing the bridge to collapse. 

Castillano, 57, and a resident of Caloocan City, and his helpers Moises Gevero and Christian Aquino were brought to the Gandara Municipal Police Station for proper disposition, while the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has already visited the bridge for assessment of the damage.

Tabada said the bridge remains closed to ensure public safety.

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