THE Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will resume today the concreting of Ouano Ave., from the Mandaue City Sports Complex to A.C. Cortes Ave., and the repair of the first Mactan-Mandaue Bridge on Monday.
In a meeting yesterday, DPWH 7 Director Ador Canlas said both projects were supposed to start in December 2015 yet, but were postponed because of the Sinulog and the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC).
“These projects are long overdue. So, I hope the public will understand us,” Canlas said.
The bridge repair and the concreting of the 1.11-kilometer stretch of Ouano Ave. will cost P129 million and P50 million, respectively.
According to the project timeline, the repair of the old bridge will take 320 days or about 10 months.
As a result of the bridge repair project, 50 houses of informal settlers under the bridge will be demolished with the help of the Mandaue City Government and the local police.
But it’s not the only change that could affect Mandaue City’s roads.
The City Government will also start on Wednesday its dry run for the new traffic scheme across the city, which will last for 60 days.
City Planning and Development Officer Florentino Nimor Jr. said that with the new traffic scheme, vehicles will not be allowed to turn left at the intersections on the highway, especially those going to Barangay Paknaan, Barangay Tabok and Sitio Sudlon in Barangay Maguikay.
The City Council approved a resolution by Councilor Elstone Dabon, chair of the City Council committee on transportation, which authorized the Traffic Enforcement Agency of Mandaue (Team) to conduct a dry run for 60 days. The TEAM was asked to submit a report and its recommendation at the end of the dry run.
In a press conference yesterday, Dabon said the 60-day countdown will start when the Team starts implementing the traffic plan.
Nimor said they are trying the new scheme across the city to have a “smooth” traffic flow in Mandaue.
There will be no left turn at the intersection on J.P. Rizal St. going to Paknaan and Tabok, and on M.C. Briones St. going to Sitio Sudlon, Maguikay.
The “no left turn” policy will be implemented during peak hours, from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
“We will also post advisories in these three intersections. Within the week we will not apprehend drivers who will turn left in these areas. Maybe in the middle of next week we will implement the no left turn policy,” Nimor said.
The city officials observed that there is traffic build-up in these parts of the highway because of vehicles that turn left.
Another change in the traffic scheme is that by middle of next week, private vehicles and trucks from D.M. Cortes St. (formerly known as Plaridel St.) will be able to cross the intersection on UN Ave. going to Cansaga Bridge or Paknaan, and vice versa.
Jeepneys coming from D.M. Cortes St. that are bound for northern Cebu, however, will still have to turn right to UN Ave. and pass under the Marcelo Fernan Bridge before they can go north.
Glenn Antigua, chief of operations of Team, said they have also implemented the “zipper” method on Butuanon Bridge to address traffic congestion on J.P. Rizal St.
Vehicles on the Butuanon Bridge may pass through the other lane going to UN Ave. while the vehicles on the opposite side are still waiting for their turn to go.
As for the repair of the first Mandaue-Mactan Bridge, Frank Brazil, head of the Lapu-Lapu City Traffic Management System, said they will place traffic signs in strategic areas so that motorists from Lapu-Lapu will be notified about the bridge repair, which will start on Feb. 8.
As long as there is no vehicular accident and no vehicle will have engine trouble in the area, Brazil said traffic flow will be fine.
“I advise motorists to be observant of the traffic flow and try to read traffic advisories so that they can avoid road accidents,” Brazil added.
As to the demolition under the bridge, DPWH 7 Legal Officer Burton Raya said that under Republic Act 7279 or the “Act to Provide Comprehensive and Continuing Urban Development and Housing Program,” owners of illegal structures in danger zones are not entitled to financial assistance from the government, and the structures must be demolished immediately.
Raya said the informal settlers are at risk of being hit by debris while the repair of the bridge is ongoing.
Yesterday, DPWH met with the different sectors that will be affected by the projects, including the Mandaue City Government, Lapu-Lapu City Government and the Mactan Economic Zone (MEZ).
DPWH 7 Director Ador Canlas said that if the contractor will work on an eight-hour shift, the concreting of Ouano Ave. will be completed on July 3 this year.
But if the Mandaue City Government will allow the contractor to work on two shifts for 16 hours a day, it can be completed on May 4. It can even be finished earlier if the contractor can work on three shifts, the director said.
Nimor, Mandaue City’s planning officer, told Canlas during the meeting that the City will allow the contractor to 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Tourism Officer Hembler Mendoza, who represented the Lapu-Lapu City Government, said that if the contractor works 24 hours, the repair of the bridge will also be completed ahead of schedule.
Canlas said that according to the plan, the Lapu-Lapu bound lane will be closed to traffic. Motorists from Mandaue who are going to Lapu-Lapu will have to take the Marcelo Fernan Bridge.
On the other hand, motorists from Lapu-Lapu City who are going to Mandaue City can take the old bridge.
Once the Lapu-Lapu-bound lane of the old bridge will be reopened and Mandaue-bound lane is closed, motorists from Mandaue City can now pass through the first bridge while those coming from Lapu-Lapu City will have to take the Marcelo Fernan Bridge.