Carcar-Danao expressway

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014


IT WAS, I think, a couple of years ago when a then newly finished bridge in Barangay Calajo-an in Minglanilla, Cebu caught my attention. The structure, built across a regular-size river, was very imposing considering its rural surrounding. That was what made its construction there rather surprising.

Not only that. Such an imposing structure wasn’t even connected to a highway. One end immediately ran smack into the main road perpendicular to it going to Calajo-an. The other end had a road that ran for only a few meters before reaching a corner. Straight ahead was a rice field.

I asked a worker who was among the crew that were winding down their work why such an expensive structure was built in an area that didn’t even have a highway. He said that a road from Talisay to Minglanilla passing by the bridge was already in the works.

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Government was still in the process of acquiring road-right-of-way.

Until now, no such highway has been constructed. Now the bridge is only being used by people walking on foot and the occasional vehicles, mostly tricycles and habal-habals.

I was reminded of that bridge when I read the report that Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7 is proposing an ambitious road project that would connect Carcar City in the south to Danao City in the north passing by the metro’s mountain areas. I thought it was the same road project that the worker mentioned. I was wrong.

The Carcar-Danao expressway is proposed to pass Barangay Lagtang, crossing the portion of Mananga river where Talisay’s deserted new public market is located. Meaning that the highway will traverse the interior villages of localities from Carcar to Danao.

The bridge in Calajo-an, meanwhile, is near the shoreline. If a highway were to connect to it from Talisay, it should be a coastal highway. It should go over the portion of Mananga river near the shoreline. Will that road ever materialize?

I really don’t have any objection to the road project now being proposed by DPWH 7, especially because of the claim that it would cut travel time from Carcar to Danao by one half. That expressway would benefit commuters, especially in cities and towns it would cut through.

I was a dyLA radio reporter assigned to the Cebu City Hall beat when the road works of the Metro Cebu Development Project (MCDP) were constructed in the early ‘90s. Those road works resulted in the widening of major thoroughfares and made then mayor Tomas Osmeña look good.

The road works originally included a proposed circumferential road from Pardo to Talamban traversing the slopes overlooking downtown Cebu City.

I liked the project because I thought it would pump prime the development in the city’s hinterlands. That was before subdivision projects went up the city’s mountainsides, like that in Barangay Tisa.

For one reason or another, that project was scrapped. I think it was because funding by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) was used up by the other projects. Had the circumferential road been realized, Monterrazas de Cebu could have saved on road-building cost for its current subdivision project on the Banawa hillside.

But I think DPWH7 should first focus on completing an alternative coastal route to the south, considering that the existing highway from Talisay City going to Carcar City is already prone to bottlenecks. I think this alternative coastal route was proposed way before the Carcar-Danao expressway was conceived.

(khanwens@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 12, 2014.

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