DPWH picks up road widening

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Friday, August 1, 2014


THE Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7 is pushing through with a road widening project in the Banilad-Talamban corridor, in order to ease the traffic congestion.

The project, which costs P150 million, was suspended in December last year because of problems with the road-right-of-way acquisition.

The road widening that DPWH 7 is doing near the University of San Carlos (USC)-Talamban Campus already signals the resumption of the project.

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In a project briefing with Rep. Raul del Mar (Cebu City, north district) yesterday, DPWH 7 Director Ador Canlas said the road widening will cover 1.5 kilometers and will start in the area where RD Pawnshop (after the Banilad flyover) is, all the way to the Petron Station in Talamban.

Canlas said that the DPWH had started implementing the project last Feb. 21, 2013 but it was suspended by October because of the failure to acquire road-right-of-way (RROW).

In early December, Canlas said, they resumed work after the Del Rosario family gave DPWH an entry permit to their property. DPWH widened 250 meters of road.

However, another suspension order was issued by DPWH in late December since more RROW problems left them with no area to work on.

The project resumed last week, after USC gave DPWH the RROW entry permit. DPWH is widening 300 meters of road and is expected to finish the project in two months.

Initially, Canlas said, the road widening project in Banilad and Talamban was supposed to have been finished last Nov. 17, 2013 yet.

With the delays, DPWH has revised their target and hopes to finish the entire project by March 12 next year.

“Hopefully, there will be no more extension,” he said.

DPWH seeks to widen the road from 12.38 meters at present to 13.4 meters.

According to Canlas, DPWH has already filed expropriation cases for the other privately-owned lots affected by the project, since negotiating with lot owners is tedious.

Roads

But aside from expropriation being faster, Canlas said the main reason they filed cases was to save the P150-million fund needed for the project. This had been part of the 2013 national budget.

“RROW acquisition is a tedious one, particularly the negotiation. If the negotiation bogged down (before 2013), the funds would be reverted to the National Government. We resorted to expropriation so that the fund will already be obligated,” he said.

Canlas added that when the agency filed the expropriation cases in December last year, 10 percent of the total zonal value of the affected properties was deposited in the bank of the Clerk of Courts.

“Sorry for those expropriation cases. There’s no intent to harass. We just want to save the funds,” he said.

Based on their parcellary plan, DPWH Planning Division chief Engr. Nonito Paylado said there are a total of 136 lots affected by the road widening—63 of them in Banilad and 73 in Talamban.

Canlas said, though, that there are 11 properties that have not been included in the expropriation case as these are identified as free patent lots.
Removing posts

Canlas said they will no longer be paying the families for the use of the lot for the road widening project, but only for the improvements made on their structures.

While it has yet to receive the DPWH’s application to remove the 39 trees, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Central Visayas urged DPWH to prepare the requirements.

Eddie Llamedo, DENR 7 spokesperson, said that once DPWH applies to earth-ball or remove trees growing within the road widening project in Banilad and Talamban, they will need to secure requirements, such as getting the barangays to support the trees’ removal.

Before that, DENR 7 will conduct an inventory of trees growing along the Banilad-Talamban road, to check if there is a need to remove any.

Their recommendations will be sent to the DENR Central office in Manila.

Also yesterday, Canlas asked the Visayan Electric Co. (Veco) and telecommunication companies to start removing their posts along the Banilad-Talamban corridor that will be affected by the road widening.

There are a total of 157 posts in the area.

Bunny Pages, head of the BanTal Task Force who also attended the meeting yesterday, said he will be communicating with Veco regarding the matter. Veco was not able to send a representative yesterday.

DPWH is also asking the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) to remove or transfer their water meters. There are some 23 MCWD meters that will be affected by the project.

Rebecca Lagunzad-Husayan, MCWD’s production division head, said they are willing to transfer these.

Fairness

But Husayan is asking DPWH to spare from their road widening project the wells located before and after USC, which produce 3,000 cubic meters of water per day and 5,000 cubic meters of water per day, respectively.

“If that goes, it will have a huge effect on our consumers,” she said, adding that it also supplies water to Mactan Island.

Canlas said DPWH will inspect the wells next week.

As for the trees, Canlas yesterday said there will be some 39 trees that will be affected by the project.

He said they have already applied for a permit from the DENR to earthball these trees.

They have not received a reply yet.

Del Mar, for his part, yesterday said what is important is the project will push through and that there are funds.

Canlas said it was Del Mar who has helped secure the funds for the road widening in the Banilad-Talamban area.

After the project briefing yesterday, DPWH together with Del Mar, Pages and representatives of MCWD inspected the traffic in Banilad and Talamban, and surveyed the area where the road widening will be implemented.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 02, 2014.

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