Wenceslao: That traffic mess, 1

LAST Saturday’s traffic jam from the southern part of Cebu City down to Talisay City, the town of Minglanilla and a portion of the City of Naga was a monster. It started at past 2 in the afternoon and eased going to midnight, although traffic was still tight going to the south around 1 a.m. People could be seen walking from as far as Bulacao in Cebu City down to Talisay and Minglanilla. At almost midnight, people could still be seen waiting for a ride home from Tabunok in Talisay to Minglanilla.

I was in the midst of such a jam and had to be absent from work that day. I opened my Facebook account and could read the flood of curses directed at officials of Talisay and Minglanilla. The most venomous were reserved for officials of the latter, where the jam apparently started. What made people irate was that there wasn’t even an accident to blame for the traffic mess. And no traffic enforcer could be seen on the affected roads to swiftly ease the burden.

The most affected road was the portion of the Cebu South Road from Cebu City to Talisay, Minglanilla and Naga. But it also affected the wider Cebu South Coastal Road from the South Road Properties (SRP) up to the junction where it links up with the Cebu South Road. Traffic in those roads are being maintained by the concerned local government units (LGUs) and I don’t know if these LGUs have a certain level of coordination to solve traffic messes like what happened on Saturday.

I got trapped in the traffic going south past 2 p.m. at the portion of the coastal road near the mall in Barangay San Roque in Talisay. Traffic began to slow down, then finally barely moved at around 5 p.m. when I was near the portion where the coastal road links up with the south road (that’s almost three hours for a stretch we could negotiate in 20 minutes regular traffic). There traffic ground to a halt. That was when I got out and talked with fellow drivers, asking what caused the mess.

That was when we noticed that the opposite lanes going to Cebu City were also almost deserted (We could see a few cars and mostly motorcycles) which only meant that the route from the south going to Cebu City was also clogged up. “Duna tingali aksidente,” we told ourselves.

Darkness had begun to blanket the junction when I found out one of the reasons (but certainly not the main cause) for our slow progress in the coastal road. A truck got stalled on the left lane of a two-lane road. The third lane of the road was supposedly reserved for vehicles going to Tabunok in Talisay, but drivers used it to wiggle into the middle lane, which was the only passable lane. Imagine vehicles in three lanes fighting for possession of only one lane.

But that was not the main cause of the woes of drivers there. Because when the vehicles from the coastal road crossed the junction during green light towards the south road, they couldn’t penetrate the said road because traffic was clogged up there. So vehicles from the coastal road blocked the vehicles that were supposed to cross the junction going to Tabunok when the red light had turned green. No traffic enforcers were in the junction to direct the traffic. (to be continued)
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