When the Department of Public Works and Highways, with the support of then Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña, implemented the almost P700-million underpass project on the intersection of N. Bacalso Ave. and F. Llamas St., lives of southern commuters were upended for close to two years.
The construction caused monstrous traffic jams, especially during rush hour. Commuters had no choice but to wait patiently, sometimes for more than two hours, to get to their destinations.
The Department of Transportation must have had that scenario in mind when it decided to change the 23-kilometer route of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).
Instead of starting in Barangay Bulacao, Cebu City, traversing N. Bacalso Ave., the South Road Properties (SRP), Osmeña Blvd. and Gov. Cuenco Ave. in going to Talamban, the BRT will now start at the SRP.
According to Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino, though, the original route would have raised the project cost, which currently stands at P17 billion.
“We work on the same budget kay dili naman na nimo pwede ipasaka nga (because we can no longer increase the) budget. We work on that budget,” Dino said.
Under phase 1 of the BRT, which is expected to start construction before the year ends, the route will also pass through the Capitol area.
Regional Development Council 7 chairman Kenneth Cobonpue said the route has been approved.
The new alignments for the project “are aimed at addressing the riding needs of the public and ensuring that there will be at least two lanes per direction for private vehicles together with the planned transport systems.”
The World Bank-funded BRT will have a total of 250 buses with at least 21 stations designed by internationally renowned industrial designer Cobonpue.
The BRT is one of the components of the proposed Integrated Intermodal Transport System for Metro Cebu, which will have a monorail system at its backbone, wrote SunStar Cebu correspondent Carlos Lorenciana.
No doubt the public will again experience inconveniences when the BRT project finally takes off, especially motorists who use the SRP. But at least residents along N. Bacalso can heave a sigh of relief that they have been spared from another nightmare.