Briones: Carmaggedon

I’VE every reason to rant about the traffic.

I mean, I’ve been mouthing off about the subject for the last three or four years. And with what’s going on in the southern portion of Cebu City right now, it’s apparent that so has everybody else affected by the construction of the underpass on N. Bacalso Ave.

So for us who have to traverse the Banilad-Talamban corridor in the north, I guess we should be thankful because whatever traffic we encounter pales in comparison to what southern motorists have to endure every day. And, based on what one lawyer who happens to be an environmentalist is saying, they will continue to suffer until 2020.

But if Atty. Ben Cabrido had his way, this project would never have left the drawing board simply because the contractor, according to him, lacks the capability to undertake it. As a result, it has inconvenienced the public with heavy, bumper-to-bumper traffic “on most days and on some nights.”

It’s hard to believe that people working on the P700-million underpass would not be using advanced techniques or, get this, not have any boring machines. But that’s exactly what Cabrido is claiming.

I guess they’re using shovels, or worse, their hands to do the digging, which would explain why it’s taking so long.

But wait, didn’t Engr. Tiffany Tio, materials engineer of the Department of Public Works and Highways 7, earlier say that the project is 60 percent complete?

Does that mean then that southern motorists will soon see the light at the end of the tunnel?

Although I think the bigger question should be, will this project actually help ease traffic in the area?

It might if the width of the southern highway is widened by adding an extra lane or two on both sides. Otherwise, the agency is just excavating one lane on either side of a four-lane road at a cost of nearly a billion. But when the dust settles, motorists will still be using the same four lanes, albeit two will be “under.” And then we’re back to square one.

So I have this nagging feeling that the underpass will go the way of the flyovers that dot Archbishop Reyes Ave., which outlived their usefulness as soon as their construction was completed.

The flyovers are constant reminders that local officials cannot go on treating the symptom without first determining the cause.

In the case of the metro’s traffic problem, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the present infrastructure cannot cope with the additional volume of private vehicles that is introduced to the streets every month.

Perhaps, if they acknowledge this, they can inch closer to a solution.
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