CONSTRUCTION of three diversion roads in Lapu-Lapu City will begin this year. Once completed, these will ease traffic in the city, officials said.

These diversion roads will connect Sudtunggan in Barangay Basak to Barangay Gabi in Cordova town, George Tampus Road in Basak to Sitio Kaloko/Timpolok Road in Barangay Babag and Pak-Pakan Road in Basak to Collinwood Subdivision in Basak.

According to Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan, the City Government and the office of his wife, Lone District Rep. Ma. Cynthia Chan, have allocated funds for these projects. City Engineer Perla Amar, however, has yet to disclose the total cost of the projects and the sources of funds.

Apart from the diversion roads, Mayor Chan also revealed four other major infrastructure projects during a recent forum with tourism stakeholders in the city.

These are the construction of a flyover at the Marigondon crossing to decongest the volume of vehicles in the area; a tri-level interchange on M.L. Quezon Ave., which he described as a flyover that will serve as an alternative route for those coming from Barangay Basak to Pusok or vice versa; a fourth bridge connecting Mandaue City and Lapu-Lapu City; and the construction of a coastal highway leading to and from the fourth bridge.

The tri-level interchange on M.L. Quezon Ave. will allow for free-flowing traffic and will decongest the volume of vehicles at the traffic light going to the first bridge, according to Chan.

However, the mayor said the City has yet to allocate funds for these projects.

Public funds

Former city councilor Michael Dignos, a lawyer, said the City should make sure that these infrastructure projects will not waste public funds.

“These projects must have a traffic feasibility and impact study for them to positively say that it will solve the traffic problem. Otherwise, it is another waste of public funds, especially when the City incurred deficit for two consecutive years already,” Dignos told SunStar Cebu on Wednesday, March 8, 2023.

The mayor told SunStar Cebu last Feb. 22 that the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), with financing from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica), will build a coastal road in the city that will connect to the fourth bridge and the 400-hectare Mactan North Reclamation Development Project (MNRDP).

He said the DPWH and Jica had agreed to build a coastal road to avoid traffic on the existing circumferential road in the city when the fourth bridge will become operational, and also promised to shoulder the cost of the coastal road during their meeting in January this year.

The fourth bridge, estimated to cost P76.412 billion, will be partially funded by a loan of about 120 billion yen or roughly P50 billion from Jica.

Chan also mentioned during the forum about the construction of the Lapu-Lapu Expressway, also known as skyway project, which is expected to start in September, as the alignment of the P24.8 billion budget is still ongoing and will take at least six months.

City Attorney James Allan Sayson, on Feb. 23, said the City will not spend a single centavo for the construction of the skyway since its joint venture partner LLEX Corp. will shoulder the cost.

The LLEX will connect the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway, which ends in Barangay Gabi in Cordova, to the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

It is expected to be operational by 2025.

Chan said this will ease the traffic and cut short the travel time from SM Seaside City Cebu in Cebu City to the airport and vice versa.

Reclamation project

The mayor also disclosed that aside from the MNRDP that covers coastlines of Barangays Ibo, Buaya and Mactan, there will also be a 103-hectare reclamation project in Barangay Canjulao and a 100-hectare reclamation project in Barangay Punta Engaño.

Chan said the MNRDP, a separate island which is intended for mixed-use development that will include commercial, tourism and industrial zones, is expected to be implemented within this year.

He said they are still getting permits for the two other reclamation projects, whose purpose he did not disclose.

Socialized housing

Meanwhile, Chan said the City will build socialized housing on a 25-hectare lot in Barangay Canjulao to house informal settlers currently living in hazard-prone coastal areas.

“This project will clear the coastal areas in preparation for the construction of the coastal road and a baywalk along the coast of first and second bridges,” he said.

The mayor also said the Lapu-Lapu City Government plans to widen the road in Barangay Punta Engaño for tourists’ convenience.

Despite these grandiose plans, Dignos said the City has not even finished repairing or replacing school buildings that were damaged or destroying during the onslaught of typhoon Odette in 2021.

Apart from that, the former city councilor also emphasized the need for funding to implement an effective drainage and garbage disposal system in the city.

“I proposed before the creation of another city hospital in Mactan or Bankal or Maribago for health services improvement, pero wala (but no). It fell to deaf ears,” said Dignos, who ran for the City’s seat in Congress in the 2022 elections but lost to Chan’s wife.