Typhoon Egay destroys iconic Ilocos Sur bridge
For those who had traveled to Vigan, Ilocos, Sur, passing by the Quirino Bridge means that the historic city is just a few minutes away and that the 8-hour travel is almost over. Unfortunately last night, this famous bridge collapsed due to strong winds and heavy rains brought about by typhoon Egay.
The good news, however, is that Quirino Bridge, aka Banaoan Bridge, was downgraded to a mere tourist spot for photo ops a few years ago. A bridge parallel to the Quirino Bridge opened to vehicular traffic 14 years ago and is still open to traffic as of this writing, seemingly unaffected by the raging Abra River.
The arc-style bridge was said to have been built in honor of the country’s 6th President, Elpidio Quirino. While this indicates that the bridge was built sometime in the late 50s to early 60s, there are sources that also indicate that an earlier version of the bridge already existed even before World War II, as it is the only thing that connects Manila to Vigan, Ilocos Sur, via the towns of Santa and Bantay.
During the heyday of Philippine cinema’s “Da King”, Fernando Poe, Jr., the Quirino Bridge can be seen as a backdrop in many of his films. In 2001, the bridge was destroyed by typhoon Feria. It was not until 2007 when a new, 456-meter bridge was built parallel to the old Quirino Bridge, and it was inaugurated by then-President, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2009.
As mentioned above, the old bridge serves as an iconic symbol of Ilocos Sur and was preserved as a tourist attraction and was supposed to act as a backup in case the main (new) bridge is damaged by typhoons.