MOTORISTS and local officials in Dumaguete City are bracing for the increase in traffic congestion, as a bridge in the city will soon be closed for a P29-million widening project.

Engr. Luz Vicoy of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said the widening of Banica Bridge II, also known as “Bag-ong Taytayan,” will start within two months despite serious concerns of its effect to the already worsening traffic problem in the city.

“The P29-million project, which seeks to turn the bridge into a four-lane link straddling Banica River has been delayed already as it was supposed to have been started last year and the contract will expire on April,” Vicoy said.

“There is also a problem with several families from both sides of the bridge that will have to be relocated,” said Engr. Jared Ben Allosa, Vicoy’s deputy.

The DPWH could not also begin the work unless the electrical wires of the Negros Oriental Electric Cooperative II, cable TV and the steel pipes of the Dumaguete City Water District that runs along the bridge shall have been relocated.

Both officials assure the agency and contractor will try to limit the bridge’s closure to half-lane except when the activity is critical, which would require a total shutdown and detour of road users.

Barring no major delays, the entire project will be completed in six months.

The DPWH also admitted that Banica Bridge 1 or Daang Taytayan will also undergo rehabilitation and widening after Banica Bridge II.

Allosa asked the public to bear the adverse effects of the project, saying the expansion project will be for the greater good that could last a long time.

The Banica Bridge 2 widening is expected to start in April.

Lawyer Alan Gel Cordova, a member of the Dumaguete City Council, has been tasked to deal with the concerns related to traffic in the city, said City Information Officer Dems Rey Demecillo.

Demecillo said Cordova is expected to come up with a proposal on the re-routing traffic scheme when the bridge widening project will start and traffic will be sealed off in that area. (PNA)