THE Cebu South Coastal Road and the South Road Properties (SRP) have remained fragile as far as the traffic setup is concerned and I still have to hear of officials in the cities of Cebu and Talisay mapping long-term plans to address the problem. The recent accident in the Cansojong portion of the coastal road is its most recent proof.
I have in the past months chosen to drive following the old south highway instead of the coastal road. The decision is a product of years of regularly choosing the SRP route to and from the city and experiencing there a number of times the feeling of helplessness when suddenly trapped in a traffic jam in that lonely thoroughfare. At the old south highway at least, the traffic mess is either predictable and escapable or you are sure some traffic enforcers would be around to untangle it.
A traffic expert once compared the road network at the SRP with that at the north reclamation area and found that of the former wanting. Indeed, the SRP is overly dependent on the coastal road. One would think that such a problem does not exist in the Talisay portion of the coastal road where there is an old road network but it does. The limitations show up when traffic at the coastal road is jammed.
At the SRP, one can sense the frustration of drivers after being trapped at the SRP portion of the coastal road, notably from Plaza Independencia and the tunnel to the causeway and down. I was on a taxi going to the city when we were caught in a traffic jam near SM Seaside. When the vehicles did not move for several minutes, the taxi driver got out and surveyed the middle island.
“Kaya man ni layatan sa sakyanan ang island kay mubo ra man,” he said. “Balhin ta sa pikas lane unya balik tas Talisay. Liko tas San Roque dayon sa Inayawan.” I overruled the suggestion because not only was the proposed maneuver dangerous, there was no assurance traffic would be smooth in the mentioned routes considering that work on the Mambaling tunnel was still ongoing then.
But what the taxi driver suggested showed what the coastal road desperately needs.
There is no existing viable road network at the SRP. The same problem persists in Talisay because while a road network exists there, it is one traversed mostly by tricycles. Which means that the roads in Talisay are so narrow these cannot survive the burden of allowing the coastal road vehicles an alternative route to the south. At the coastal road, rerouting vehicles caught in a traffic jam is impossible, whether at the SRP portion or the Talisay portion.
And this is what I have been harping about for a long time now. Cebu City’s current crown jewel is the SRP and investments are bound to pour there under a new administration. I just hope that the City would be forward-looking and consider traffic as an important aspect in efforts to develop the SRP. On this, Mayor Edgardo Labella can work hand-in-hand with Talisay City Mayor Samsam Gullas. The point is, the traffic issue can pull down the SRP back to the ground if not given importance.