Jones Bridge in 2016
|Carries||6 lanes of Quintin Paredes Road (cars only)|
Pedestrians and bicycles
|Official name||William A. Jones Memorial Bridge|
|Named for||William Atkinson Jones|
|Maintained by||City Government of Manila|
|Preceded by||MacArthur Bridge|
|Followed by||Roxas Bridge|
|Design||Neoclassical arch bridge|
|Longest span||300 m (984 ft)|
|No. of spans||3|
|Piers in water||2|
|Load limit||20 t (20,000 kg)|
|Clearance below||7.5 m (25 ft) at mean tide|
|Designer||Juan M. Arellano|
|Constructed by||City Government of Manila (1919–20)|
Philippine Bureau of Public Works (1920, 1945)
|Replaces||Puente de España|
The William A. Jones Memorial Bridge, commonly known as the Jones Bridge, is an arched girder bridge that spans the Pasig River in the City of Manila, Philippines. It is named after the United States legislator William Atkinson Jones, who served as the chairman of the U.S. Insular Affairs House Committee which had previously exercised jurisdiction over the Philippines and the principal author of the Jones Law that gave the country a legislative autonomy from the United States. Built to replace Puente de España (Bridge of Spain), the bridge connects Quintin Paredes Road at the Binondo district to Padre Burgos Avenue at the Ermita district.
Originally designed by Filipino architect Juan M. Arellano using Neoclassical architecture, the first incarnation of the bridge features three arches resting on two heavy piers. Adorned by faux-stone and concrete ornaments, both ends of the bridge were guarded by four sculptures on concrete plinths allegorically representing motherhood and nationhood. The original bridge was destroyed during the World War II by retreating Japanese troops and was reconstructed in 1946 by the U.S. and Philippine public works. The reconstructed bridge retained the three arches and two piers but removed all the ornaments and plinths from the original build. In 2019, the City Government of Manila began a rehabilitation project to restore the Jones Bridge to its near-original design using Beaux-Arts architecture similar to that of Pont Alexandre III in Paris and the restoration of the four original sculptures.
First Jones Bridge (1919-1945)
The Jones Bridge was originally commissioned under the auspices of the City Government of Manila in 1919 before the Insular Government, through the Philippine Bureau of Public Works, later took over in finishing the bridge's construction in 1920. The bridge is intended to replace the Puente de España (Bridge of Spain), which was built by Spain in 1876 but was teared down beyond repair due to increasing traffic at the rapidly developing district of Binondo. The Puente, which was located at one block upriver at the Calle Nueva (now E.T. Yuchengco Street), was kept open while the new bridge is being constructed at Quintin Paredes Street. The construction of new bridges were part of a master plan of Manila Daniel Burnham, who wanted to give emphasis on the rivers of city and likened them to the river Seine in Paris and the canals of Venice. This plan was heavily implemented and supervised by William E. Parsons, but upon the passage of the Jones Act, Filipino architect Juan M. Arellano took over and finished the bridge's final design. Jones died in 1918 while the bridge is still being planned, and the Filipinos named the passageway to the lawmaker for authoring the law that will give the country an autonomy from the United States.
Arellano designed the bridge in the style of the passageways constructed during Haussmann's renovation of Paris. He embellished the piers with a statues of boys on dolphins, similar to the those on the Pont Alexandre III at the river Seine (which he had previously visited). Similar to the Parisian Pont, he marked both ends of the bridge with four plinths and commissioned a sculptor named Martinez to build four statues which would be placed on the pedestals.
World War II
During the Second World War, the Japanese Army bombed the bridge against the incoming American troops at the Battle of Manila. One of the four statues was permanently lost during the destruction. After the war, a bailey bridge was set up as a temporary passageway for vehicles while the main bridge itself is being rebuilt.
Second Jones Bridge (1946-present)
Following the passage of the Philippine Rehabilitation Act of 1945, the Philippine Bureau of Public Works and the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads reconstructed the Jones and Quezon bridges using large and deep steel girders. Upon its completion, none of its original ornamentation on either it piers and balustrades were restored, and its neoclassical aesthetic were replaced with an unadorned architecture in an urgent haste to finish its reconstruction. In 1998, in celebration of the Philippine Centennial Independence, the bridge was partially restored by architect Conrad Onglao who was commissioned by then-First Lady Amelita Ramos.
In 2019, Manila mayor Isko Moreno announced plans to restore the Jones Bridge to its near-original architecture, including the return of the three surviving sculptures that had previously guarded the bridge, using the ₱20 million that were donated towards the project. The 4th sculpture (which was destroyed during the war) will be replicated using the archives of the pre-war Jones Bridge in the National Library of the Philippines. Moreno commissioned Jose Acuzar, owner of Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar to build Beaux-Arts-styled lamp posts similar to those on Pont Alexandre III and new pillars that would act as the pedestal for the returning structures.
Originally constructed using Neoclassical architecture, the first incarnation of the bridge had three arches resting on two heavy piers. The internal structure was made of steel with the piers, while concrete and pre-cast faux stone was used for its cladding and ornamentation. Four statues were placed on the plinths to act as guardians over the bridge and carried a unifying theme—motherhood and nationhood. Only three of the pieces survived the Second World War, one of these was named La Madre Filipina, which was found at the grounds of Intramuros in 1960 and was later repaired by F. Caedo and moved to Rizal Park. The two other sculptures were sent to guard the Court of Appeals building.
The current incarnation of Jones Bridge is a haunched girder bridge, retaining its three arches and two piers. The faux-stone cladding and ornamentation were removed and were replaced by a red steel girding. The plinths on both ends of the bridge were also never rebuilt following the removal of the three remaining guardian sculptures.
The Jones bridge rarely suffers from traffic congestion, which usually occurs at the both ends of the bridge due to parking violations. Water buses of Pasig River Ferry Service also habitually pass under it to reach its Escolta Street station. Every January 9 of the year since 2013, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority annually closes the bridge from car passage for a procession during the Feast of the Black Nazarene after the Department of Public Works and Highways deemed the nearby MacArthur Bridge unstable to accommodate increasing foot traffic during the festivities.
In 2012, the Philippine Coast Guard issued a ban on swimming along the Pasig river after three floating bodies were discovered within the vicinity of the bridge. In 2019, Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission rescued three teenagers who were struggling in swimming under the bridge from drowning.
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