Tunnel to Mactan proposed anew-A A +A
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
IT WILL take only 15 minutes for motorists to reach the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) from Cebu City, vows Representative Raul del Mar (Cebu City, north district), if he gets Congress to approve his bill.
Del Mar has again filed before the 16th Congress a bill proposing a third connection to Lapu-Lapu City in the form of an underwater tunnel.
This time, however, he wants the exit and entry points to be at the Gen. Maxilom Ave. Ext. or San Jose dela Montana Ave. in Cebu City, and in Lapu-Lapu City proper, rather than the Cordova-Cebu City tunnel he proposed during his previous term.
He also proposed to have an express lane solely for motorists bound for the MCIA.
“There should be a devoted expressway going to the airport terminal, that will bring back the 15 minutes travel time to the airport,” del Mar told reporters during an earlier interview.
He said, though, that the proposal will go through a lengthy process, and that feasibility studies have to be made.
Del Mar said he already brought up his proposal to Department of Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya during a recent meeting with Cabinet members in Malacañang.
“Wala siya mubalibad (He didn’t reject it) but we need to discuss it further,” he said of his proposal, which is pending before the House committee on transportation.
Proposals for a third connection to Mactan Island were raised in recent years amid the growing traffic problem in major thoroughfares leading to the two Mandaue-Mactan bridges.
Del Mar said an underwater tunnel is more feasible compared to a third bridge. With the short distance between Cebu City’s port area and Lapu-Lapu City, the bridge that would connect the two cities would be too steep, he said.
Meanwhile, del Mar’s proposal to construct a second runway at the MCIA gained the support of the Cebu City Council.
In its regular session last week, the council approved Councilor Gerardo Carillo’s resolution expressing its full support for the passage of House Bill (HB) 1080.
The council said that the construction of an additional runway is needed to accommodate the increasing passenger and air traffic at the MCIA.
Quoting del Mar, Carillo said that MCIA is the second busiest airport in the country after the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, and it would no longer be able to accommodate Cebu’s passenger traffic after 11 years.
He said the airport’s capacity will only be good until 2024, or even earlier.
Records of MCIA showed that there were close to 1.5 million passengers and 23,281 aircraft that landed and left the MCIA in 1991.
In 2012, the number of passengers increased to 6.7 million and the number of aircraft to 58,888.
A single runway can accommodate approximately 202,000 aircraft movements annually in a 16-hour operation, the Airport Development Reference Manual of the International Air Transport Association said.
“The MCIA serves as a hub for air transport in southern Philippines and a vital gateway to the country’s economic prosperity. An additional runway would mean more flights in and out of Cebu, which will cause a tourism boom,” Carillo said.
He said that Cebu City stands to benefit from the project.
HB 1080 is the 21st bill that del Mar filed in the 16th Congress. (Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 28, 2013.