THE advice to look before leaping can be good both for diving and for the construction of infrastructure projects like an underpass. To put it differently, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Cebu City Government should have prepared well before giving the go-signal for the construction of an underpass along Natalio Bacalso Ave.

The lack of thorough preparation has become even more apparent with the implementation of Phase 3 of the project, which now involves the closure of F. Llamas St., which was earlier used as an alternate route when a portion of Natalio Bacalso Ave. was closed to the traffic.

It has become obvious that the city government’s effort to solve the traffic gridlock created or at least ease the suffering of the riding public is but a hit-and-miss thing. Alternative routes were not mapped out in advance. It even got to the point that the parking area of a private establishment was temporarily used as an alternative route.

But it has been like this since work on the underpass started, with the only difference being the magnitude of the suffering experienced by the riding public. The start of the construction was even initially put off because, as admitted by the Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO), the targeted alternative routes weren’t ready yet for the increased volume of traffic.

Can the blame be put on the incompetence of the officials or should it be blamed on their laziness to prepare well for the project construction? Because if those behind the project were competent and conscientious enough, they would already have lined up alternative routes for every construction phase and readied them in advance before directing the flow of traffic into them.

We just hope that the lessons from the construction of the underpass along Natalio Bacalso Ave. would be learned before the DPWH starts the construction of another underpass, this time on UN Ave. in Mandaue City. The worst thing that would happen is if the same “oido” or playing-by-the-ear style would be adopted by the Mandaue City Government and DPWH.

There is really no substitute for thorough preparation before work on the Mandaue underpass begins.