It was in 2004 when the legendary Amburayan River two shores in Sudipen, La Union and Alilem, Ilocos Sur was finally linked by a dry crossing, the Friendship Bridge.
Since its inauguration ten years ago, the Friendship Bridge has offered safe and comfortable transportation to the residents of Alilem. More importantly, the bridge became a significant structure uplifting livelihood activities in the area.
“Gone were the days when the people of Alilem have to use bangkas to transport their goods and get soaked in the raging waters of the mighty Amburayan River,” says Mayor Mar Ruel Sumabat.
Today, the bridge is bringing major social and economic benefits to the people of Ilocos Sur and Benguet provinces. With agriculture as main source of income, root crops, rice, fruits, corn and tobacco are some of their major produce.
Luzon Hydro started its construction of the bridge in January 2003. Fourteen months later, with about 120 workers involved and a total cost of 60 million pesos, the dream bridge stands in service to the people.
The bridge rises 15 meters from the Amburayan River. With a length of 292 meters and width of 5 meters, the bridge connects Barangay Namaltugan of Sudipen and Barangay Dalawa of Alilem.
Oscar Opena, one of the engineers of the bridge notes that the construction of the bridge was filled with obstacles. The first attempt to construct the bridge was totally destroyed by Typhoon Feria in 2001. Nonetheless, the dream bridge was pursued.
“We had hard time crossing the Amburayan River during high flows. The driver for the boogey cart had to use snorkel and underwater googles to bring the materials on the other side” added Opena.
The construction of the bridge is one of Luzon Hydro’s biggest corporate social responsibility initiatives since it began operating the 70-megawatt Bakun AC hydropower facility in 2001. The plant is the first and only build-operate-transfer hydro project in the Philippines.
Luzon Hydro is managed by Hedcor. The Bakun AC plant is part of the 21 run-of-river hydropower plants of Hedcor producing a total of 170MW of clean and renewable energy.
Friendship Bridge. For ten years now, people of Alilem are experiencing dry crossing through the Friendship Bridge. With the partnership of the community and Luzon Hydro, sustainable developments are implemented in the area.