WHILE it took me around three hours from San Roque in Talisay to reach the junction in Lawaan, where the Cebu South Coastal Road meets the Cebu South Road, it took me another two hours to reach the Lipata area in Minglanilla. What made it a nightmare was that it was each driver to his own in what had become a battle on who could move forward first. Four lines of vehicles occupied what should have been two lanes of the Cebu South Road, making narrow the two lanes on the other side. No wonder the route from the south going to the Lawaan junction was also affected.
Knowledgeable drivers going south usually split off from the coastal road and go to Talisay when traffic gets clogged up and follow an alternative route that exits to the portion of the Cebu South Road near a gasoline station, still in Lawaan. But because they could not easily insert into the clogged up south road, their vehicles blocked the traffic from the south headed for the Lawaan junction. Again, I could not see traffic enforcers putting order into the chaos.
I got home at around 7 p.m. just when my neighbor who traveled to toledo City early in the morning also arrived from there. He told me of a similar tale of woe, only that he experienced it from the south. He said that the snarl caught him in the City of Naga area and it took him five hours to reach home. I opened my Facebook page and found out that some of my social media friends were also cursing the officials of the concerned local government units.
I went out at around midnight to fetch my son who was in Cebu City and noticed that the portion of the Cebu South Road going to Tabunok in Talisay had cleared. But the south-bound lanes and the coastal road were still full of vehicles although already moving faster. The truck that got stalled earlier at the Lawaan junction was no longer there. I saw some people still waiting for a ride.
I have always considered a traffic jam as a crisis in itself, akin to a fire breaking out. Good traffic managers prepare for such eventuality and lay down pre-designed plans to combat it. If firefighters have prepared strategies to battle fires, why can’t traffic managers come up with it? What I have observed, however, is that traffic enforcers in Talisay and Minglanilla could be seen when traffic in their jurisdiction is smooth and disappear when traffic jams occur.
Or they are around in the early stages of traffic snarls but eventually give up because they seem to be overwhelmed by the problem and in the end leave the drivers to find ways to extricate themselves from the mess, which is not good. My sister-in-law told me later that because of the traffic mess minor accidents caused by drivers’ maneuverings occurred at the portion of the coastal road inside the South Road Properties, complicating the problem further.
It would be easy for officials to blame the drivers for the mess or even go farther by pointing to the rising number of vehicles using our roads—a convenient excuse, actually. Because when all have been said and done, it is government’s responsibility to provide the infrastructure and other traffic-related services. (To be continued)