On July 2, 1973, the 2.16-kilometer long San Juanico Bridge, the longest bridge in the Philippines spanning a body of sea water between the islands of Samar and Leyte in the Visayas, was inaugurated.
The San Juanico Bridge is part of the Pan-Philippine Highway (also known as the Maharlika Highway). Its longest length is a steel girder viaduct built on reinforced concrete piers, and its main span is of an arch-shaped truss design. The bridge has 43 spans and medium size boats can pass beneath its large main arch, the top of which rises 41 meters above the sea.
A project of the Marcos administration, the construction of the 21.9 million-dollar bridge was contracted to the Construction and Development Corporation of the Philippines (now the Philippine National Construction Corporation), which together with Japanese engineers conducted studies and designed the actual project.
Construction began in 1969 over San Juanico Strait from Cabalawan, Tacloban City in Leyte to the municipality of Santa Rita, Samar.
The San Juanico Bridge is considered one of the most beautifully designed bridges in the country.