Except for the Mambaling Underpass project, the Department of Public Works and Highways in Central Visayas (DPWH – 7) will recommend a halt to the construction work of several roads and drainage projects in Cebu City to give way for the Christmas and Sinulog rush.
The temporary stop to infrastructure work was among the suggestions raised during the traffic coordination meeting, participated in by state engineers, law enforcers, and traffic focal persons from all local government units (LGUs) in Metro Cebu.
The meeting, spearheaded by the Cebu Provincial Government, was held yesterday at Capitol’s Dignitaries Hall.
DPWH – 7 assistant regional director, Engr. Mario Montejo, said they will submit their recommendation to suspend road works in Cebu City to the Cebu City District Engineering Office for approval.
“Ato pa nang gipa-evaluate sa district office. Usa sa gi-recommend nato kay sa Juan Luna atbang sa IEC (International Eucharistic Convention Center). Tungod sa traffic dinha, ma-suspend gyud na siya,” said Montejo.
(We will have it evaluated by the district office. One of the road projects we recommend to halt is in Juan Luna Avenue in front of IEC. Due to traffic there, we have to suspend work on the project.)
Provincial Focal Person on Traffic Management Jonathan Tumulak said LGUs in Cebu province with ongoing road projects will meet with DPWH -7 officials to also discuss the possibility of temporarily halting road projects.
Like in Cebu City, Tumulak said suspending work on these projects will give way to the holiday traffic.
“Dunay pagahimuon unya nga meeting with LGU and DPWH. Sila na lang ang magsabot. Hatagan og higayon ang LGU ug Chief of Police nga mohatag og recommendation to DPWH nga i-suspend lang una ang pagtrabaho aning dapita kay maka-cause of traffic during Christmas rush,” Tumulak said.
(There will be a meeting between the LGUs and DPWH. It’s up to them to agree about a moratorium. The LGU and its chief of police will be given the opportunity to give their own recommendations to DPWH.)
The moratorium on road works will start next week, and will likely last after the Sinulog season or until the traffic managers deem it necessary for the projects to resume.
There are at least four major road infrastructure projects being undertaken by DPWH – 7 in Cebu City.
These are the P638-million Mambaling Underpass on N. Bacalso Ave., and road re-concreting in T. Padilla Street, F. Vestil Street (also known as Mambaling Access Road), and drainage improvement in Pope John Paul Avenue II (formerly known as Juan Luna Avenue).
DPWH – 7 has exempted the Mambaling Underpass from the moratorium, which will take effect this Sunday, December 16, due to traffic congestion reported in areas surrounding it, such as Barangays Mambaling, Punta Princesa, Basak-Pardo, Quiot, Kinasang-an Pardo, and Pardo-Poblacion.
Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña had earlier requested the DPWH – 7 to suspend the drainage work in Pope John Paul II Avenue to give way for traffic this holiday season so that motorists will be able to use two lanes.
Among the LGUs in Cebu province that expressed concern over the possible effect of the ongoing road projects is San Fernando town, south of Cebu.
The entire stretch of the town’s national highway is undergoing construction for the additional two lanes. San Fernando is often referred to as the ‘bottleneck’ between the cities of Naga and Carcar in the south.
Anticipating Christmas rush starting December 15, the town’s traffic management team committed to deploy more traffic personnel in Barangay Pitalo where the build up of vehicles from Naga City begins.
Tumulak said LGUs who will identify projects that may worsen the traffic will have to agree with DPWH – 7 as to when they will have to cease civil works, and pull out heavy equipment.
“Open sila (DPWH) sa maong sugyot. Ma-temporary suspend ang digging nga mabutangan og precautionary measures and signages. I-pull out ang mga heavy equipment nga naa diha sa dalan. Kuhaon ang debris aron walay makabara sa dalan,” Tumulak said.
(The DPWH is open to that suggestion. They will temporarily suspend digging and put up precautionary measures and signage at the sides of the diggings. They will also pull out the heavy equipment deployed in these areas and remove the debris so that there will be no obstruction in traffic flow.)
No Christmas Parties
Tumulak also said that during their coordination meeting, some LGUs agreed to defer or push back their Christmas gatherings to make sure that the streets will not be left without any traffic enforcer.
The coordination meeting was held to prevent another “Carmageddon”, or the almost six-hour gridlock experienced in the southern part of Cebu on December 23 last year, allegedly due to traffic enforcers of Minglanilla town who were having a Christmas party.
“Dunay ubang area nga mopadayon [og Christmas party] pero nipasalig sila nga dili gyod mabiyaan [ang mga karsada],” said Tumulak.
(Some LGUs will proceed with their Christmas parties but assured us that they will not leave the streets unattended.)
Those who will be pushing through with their Christmas parties are the traffic management bodies of the cities of Cebu, Danao, and Lapu-Lapu.
Tumulak added that all traffic management offices have imposed a no-day off and no-leave policy for traffic personnel starting December 15 until Sinulog.