Road works ‘killing’ business-A A +A
Monday, June 25, 2012
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Half-filled restaurants, low sales, dust, and heavy traffic – these have been the complaints of most residents, commuters and traders along the western part of the Jose Abad Santos Avenue where road improvements are ongoing.
Traders said the snail-paced and very slow progress of the road improvements and construction of the reported P330-million Lazatin flyover are killing businesses along that part of the vital stretch.
Traders and business establishment owners reached by Sun.Star Pampanga over the weekend expressed disgust over the delay and the continued diggings they branded as “seemingly lacking of a work plan and timetable.”
The estimated three- to four-kilometer area is a booming home to a variety of businesses from restaurants, service shops, consumer stores and car dealerships.
Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) First Engineering District Office chief Jose Datu earlier stated that the road improvements would be completed by June 30 this year.
The project started just days before Holy Week, after traders led by realtor Conrad Garcia agreed on easement issues and other concerns in a dialogue facilitated by Mayor Oscar Rodriguez, with the flyover construction and road improvements favored over proposed digital signal lights to ease the volume of traffic based on a review of DPWH engineers.
But traders there, like two restaurateurs who requested anonymity, disclosed that their woes on declining sales are aggravated by the slow progress of work.
“You can see right now that we’re only half full, which is not quite like it at lunchtime. Even our usual breakfast and coffee regulars like businessmen are not coming anymore because they find it difficult to reach our restaurants coupled with so many inconveniences like heavy traffic and lack of parking,” one trader said.
“About 50 percent of our sales are down the drain,” he added.
Even a gasoline station supervisor said they were forced to close down four of their pumping bays, as motorists simply skip the station because of the diggings and mud on rainy days.
Other service-oriented stores shared the same sentiments, and said majority of prospects opt for other establishments offering the same services.
“This project, if not finished as soon as possible, will kill our businesses and we will be forced to closed down or transfer elsewhere,” said a meat shop manager.
DPWH regional director Antonio Molano told Sun.Star Pampanga that the project is being fast-tracked to complete it by at least by middle of August this year, although in the contract, it was stipulated that completion target is still by October.
“Sa contract daw by end of October . Pero pipilitin daw na tapusin by mid-August (But we will try to finish it by mid-August),” he said.
Molano, however, was quick to point out that the flyover project is not under the DPWH regional office but that of the Project Management Office’s and the road widening and improvement is with the Pampanga First District Engineering Office.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on June 25, 2012.