Roadwork jams traffic in south-A A +A
Friday, November 2, 2012
MOTORISTS going to the southern towns to observe All Saints’ Day yesterday complained of heavy traffic at the national highway in Naga City, particularly in the area where a road is being widened.
Naga City Mayor Valdemar Chiong said he asked policemen to help man traffic in the area, as the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) ordered the subcontractor of the road widening project to deploy workers to guide motorists at the project site.
Motorists got stuck in traffic as early as 8 a.m., with some complaining that vehicles did not move for over an hour.
Mon Ybañez, who was driving with his family to the southwestern town of Dumanjug, was among those who complained about the slow-moving traffic.
He said traffic was practically crawling.
Bus passenger Delilah Alcontin, a resident of Barangay Pakigne in Minglanilla, said she and her fellow passengers had been waiting for the traffic to move for an hour and a half.
Alcontin, who took a bus to Dalaguete town, said that vehicles were stuck in a single lane. What made the situation worse, she said, was that no one from the project contractor helped man the traffic.
When Sun.Star Cebu sought his comment on the situation, Mayor Chiong said he had sent policemen to the area to guide motorists.
Chiong said that even his family was inconvenienced by the traffic situation on their way to Toledo City to visit their departed loved ones.
He said the road widening project is still unfinished but work was suspended starting yesterday because of the holidays.
Except for the traffic in the south, the observance of All Saints’ Day yesterday was peaceful, particularly in the ports and bus terminals in Cebu and Mandaue cities.
The Land Transportation Office (LTO) 7 reported a peaceful observance of All Saints’ Day, even though thousands of passengers crowded both the North Bus Terminal and the Cebu South Bus Terminal to wait for buses that would bring them to their destinations.
LTO 7 Director Raul Aguilos said the lack of buses yesterday and last Wednesday hampered the movement of passengers and delayed the trips.
“Except for lack of available buses during the peak hours, no untoward incident was reported,” he said.
Aguilos said the LTO even allowed a maximum of 10 standing passengers per bus.
Hitching and top load passengers were strictly prohibited to prevent accidents, he said.
Despite the lack of buses, senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs) were given priority for the seats.
Late yesterday afternoon, the situation at the bus terminals was back to normal after bus companies dispatched more trips.
Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Regional Director Ahmed Cuizon said his office issued a total of 94 special permits for buses that made extra trips to transport stranded passengers.
“The number of passengers in both terminals started to recede at 2:30 p.m. It was generally peaceful. No accidents. The same for the rest of the region,” Cuizon said in an interview yesterday.
As for sea travel, Cebu Port Authority’s (CPA) chief of police Glenn Sarador said that all passenger vessels, mostly bound for Bohol, departed safely from various Cebu ports.
Sarador said that since Oct. 31, the 560-seat CPA Passenger Terminal 1 in Pier 1 was full of passengers.
The situation in Pier 3 where vessels bound for Tubigon, Bohol and Leyte are berthed was normal.
Meanwhile, the Maritime Industry (Marina) 7 said shipping companies were allowed to depart from their port of origin earlier than the scheduled time of departure if the number of passengers has reached the vessel’s passenger capacity.
Marina 7 Maritime Safety Specialist Mardon Martin said this is based on Flag State Administration Advisory No. 38 issued in 2003. It provides shipping companies the special authority to operate passenger and/or cargo liner ships during the holiday season.
He said this is meant to ensure safe, convenient and uninterrupted public service during the holidays.
As for the traffic problem in Naga, Chiong explained that the congestion worsened in Tinaan since the project is being done by phase. The first phase of the project, which starts from Naga to Carcar City, is expected to be finished by December.
Insp. Reuben Renes, Naga City deputy police chief, said that as soon as policemen went to the area to man the traffic, vehicles started moving, although the pace was still slow.
In a separate interview yesterday, DPWH 2nd District Engineer Daisy Toledo told Sun.Star Cebu that after hearing about the complaints, she immediately called the project engineer and representatives of subcontractor A.R. Adlawan Inc.
The contractors reportedly told her that two workers were assigned to help clear traffic in the area.
Toledo, however, advised the subcontractor to double the number of their employees at the site, which she said they heeded.
She said the work stoppage is in compliance with DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson’s order, stating that ongoing road projects that lead to major cemeteries are to be stopped during the observance of All Souls and All Saints Day.
Singson, though, advised project engineers and subcontractors to leave some of their workers at the project site to help keep the flow of traffic.
In Carcar City, Mayor Nice Apura said the traffic situation was normal.
He added that should the highway be congested today, they will immediately open the diversion roads to traffic if there is a need for it.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 02, 2012.