That Portion of JASA-A A +A
By DP Limlingan
Friday, August 31, 2012
AS A provincial media practitioner, I am often asked what is happening around the province, why and who are behind any events, activities or mishaps. As a self-imposed rule, I do not answer questions which answers I do not know.
Last week, an acquaintance who is a public utility jeepney driver plying the Arayat-San Fernando route asked me a familiar question that was previously asked by my friends who are daily motorists passing through that portion of the Jose Abad Santos Avenue between the two giant malls in the province.
My jeepney-driver friend asked me as to why the road rehabilitation on that portion has stopped. He further inquired whether the said road would still be undergoing rehabilitation or not.
That portion was once bounded by cogon grass on both sides, as it was once an agricultural area before a number of establishments including the malls mushroomed. It was even a favorite dumping ground then of criminals for victims of summary execution (salvage).
That portion of the road within the boundary of Mexico town also became a site for a smelting plant (steel mill) until the area was reclassified from agricultural to industrial to commercial as it is now.
Today, the area where the City of San Fernando meets the town of Mexico is a built-up area and is a reason for motorists to scratch their heads, especially during rush hours. Traffic jams are prevalent in the area especially when there are malls’ promo sales. Different kinds of motorized vehicles are aplenty in the area from buses, trucks, jeepneys, cars, tricycles and even bicycles. There are a lot of pedestrians crossing the streets too aggravating the slow flow of vehicular traffic.
The road is multi-lane, and so far, the two center lanes have been elevated and concretized, leaving the other lanes on their original low elevation. The “undisturbed” lanes remain in the asphalted condition and now filled with cracks and potholes.
There are a lot of concrete road barriers too that pose dangers to motorists at night as they are scattered in the center lane.
The heavy equipment and machineries used in elevating and concretizing the center lanes bear the marks Lucky Star, a construction firm known to be owned by former Board Member Ferdinand “Dinan” Labung and the rehabilitation project is, I believe, being undertaken by the Department of Public Works and Highways. It’s a National Government project that is left unfinished up to this time.
That portion of the JASA is one of the major show windows of the province. It’s a melting pot of people passing through and coming from the different provinces of Central Luzon including those from the Metro Manila.
When bottlenecks occur in the area, motorists using the North Luzon Expressway passing the San Fernando exit are likewise affected by the traffic snarls along the JASA.
With the rehabilitation works left pending, many surmise that the budget for the road rehabilitation from the national government has been depleted or there are some problems with the contract per se between the DPWH and the contractor Lucky Star. What causes the delay in the completion of the project remains to be answered. If only they would want to, the rehabilitation of the said JASA portion could have been completed in no time at all.
There are now new technologies used for the “curing” period or the drying of concrete. Being the center and the show window not only of the province but of Central Luzon as well, I hope the Regional Development Council or any government agency concerned can take some steps to finally complete the vital road rehabilitation project.
Speaking of roads, I passed by the Megadike recently and observed that the road atop the structure has been badly damaged by the “scaling” of the asphalt. I consider the road as a superhighway since it was once a good, fast alternate route when going to Angeles City from the City of San Fernando. Motorists can enjoy the traffic-free driving with the mountains and river channels as background.
It has developed potholes now that slow down vehicles and likewise pose dangers for fast vehicles using the highway. Road accidents are imminent because of the damaged portion of the road.
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Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on August 31, 2012.