THE Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7 decision to reopen a portion of the Mananga bridge was welcomed by commuters as an act that showed concern for the public.

But that is not the case. The DPWH and its contractor, Zion Construction, admitted they did not have a rerouting scheme or a traffic management plan when they closed one lane of the Mananga Bridge in Barangay Tabunok, Talisay City. They were forced to reopen the northbound lane and stop preventive maintenance work because they did not coordinate with Talisay City and the Provincial Government whose officials insisted on the reopening.

This was not the first time such a practice--of not coordinating with government offices and not informing the public of the alternatives--was resorted to by the DPWH or contractors. This should be the last, in fact, if government were sincere in looking after the interests of the commuting public.

The DPWH and Zion Construction will work within 15 days on a traffic management plan and come up with signs to inform the public of the lane closure and what they can do. In other words, it will do what it should have done way before the closure last Wednesday. It does not take much to think of the consequences of the lane closure in such a densely populated area of the metropolis. But think, they did not.

Road congestion, a part of it caused by uncoordinated public works, is said to cost not only public inconvenience but also economic and opportunity losses of about P1.1 billion a day, a study of the Japan International Cooperation Agency showed.

There are other causes for the congestion, namely, the rise in registered vehicles in the region from 554,472 in 2016 to 598,668 in 2017, low down-payment schemes for car purchases, and lack of planning on Cebu’s growth, but it is uncoordinated road works that is most obvious and painful to see.

Public works should be done non-stop, 24/7 and perhaps even on holidays to ensure immediate completion. What irritates commuters is when they see how road diggings cause congestion, yet there are no or only a few laborers seen at the site.

Stanley Go, Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry president, made this point when he said contractors should be compelled to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week instead of the commonly practiced 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. work schedule.

What happened in the closure of the Mananga bridge northbound lane is an example of how the DPWH and the contractor did not have public interest in mind. They went ahead with their schedule without talking to local officials or working towards minimal pain for the public.

Although the matter has been corrected, thanks to Jonathan Tumulak, Cebu Provincial Traffic Management focal person, there must be a price to pay if this will happen again.

Such recklessness should no longer be charged to experience. There must be a system to force these offices to account for failures in coordinating road projects that impact hugely on the public.