AT LEAST P397 million has been earmarked to acquire road right of way (RROW) to open and widen service roads in three busy intersections in Cebu City.
These intersections are at Juan Luna St.-M.J. Cuenco Ave., F. Sotto Drive and Salinas Drive in Lahug.
Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7 Regional Director Edgar Tabacon identified these intersections to be the three priority areas of the 25 intersections DPWH plans to improve by building flyovers or “depressed structures,” or both.
Depressed structures can mean tunnels or underpasses.
Tabacon said as soon as RROW problems are resolved, work on the three intersections can start.
He said the Cebu City District Engineering has recommended these three intersections because of the “lesser challenges” involved.
Funds for RROW acquisition have been included in the 2020 National Budget, Tabacon said.
On Oct. 14, 2019, the Cebu Provincial Board passed a resolution declaring a traffic crisis in Cebu Province. It also urged Congress to fast-track the passage and approval of “effective” measures to address traffic in Metro Cebu.
Tabacon said that even these immediate or short-term solutions to traffic could still take time because of RROW acquisition.
If it were not for RROW problems, DPWH could immediately work on the roads, he said.
“Our problem is that Cebu is an old city. It’s already complete of structures built along the road. We could not have a full swing of our constructions because even those can cause traffic. That’s our predicament,” Tabacon said.
He said the DPWH already has conceptual designs for the three identified intersections but no detailed engineering designs yet.
“It’s useless to make the design of the structure if we cannot implement it because of the lack of space. Let’s acquire the right of way first,” he said.
Tabacon said that of the P44 billion that the National Government has allocated for the RROW acquisition in the 2020 National Budget, some P800 million goes to Central Visayas.
In the proposed P4.1 trillion General Appropriations Act for 2020, the DPWH gets P44 billion for RROW acquisition.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) gets another P19 billion for the same purpose, according to Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel on Sept. 15, 2019.
He also welcomed the idea of building roundabouts in Metro Cebu as another means to solve Metro Cebu traffic.
But this needs thorough study, he said. His department is not that familiar with building roundabouts, he said.
He said he has given Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia a sketch plan of a roundabout to be placed at UN Avenue in Mandaue City “but it’s just initial.”
Mario Montejo, DPWH 7 Assistant Regional Director, said it is late for Metro Cebu to have more roundabouts because of RROW complications.
He said a roundabout doesn’t seem feasible at this time. “First, culture. Then the attitude of drivers. The attitude of Filipino drivers is to always get ahead of the others.”
The roundabout at Fuente Osmeña has worked because it is big, Montejo said. It has a diameter of 178 meters.
A small roundabout will not work, like the one before at Osmeña Blvd. and P. del Rosario. That’s why it was removed, Montejo said. (WBS)