PASSENGERS and motorists going to the airport should leave earlier than usual on Monday, since traffic is expected to be heavy when the repair of the Mandaue-Mactan Bridge starts.
The Traffic Enforcement Agency of Mandaue (Team) will allow only vehicles coming from Mandaue City going to Lapu-Lapu City to use the bridge while it is being repaired.
Aside from the bridge repair starting on Monday, a concreting project on A. Soriano Ave. in Mandaue City will also worsen traffic in the route going to the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA).
Glenn Antigua, Team chief for operations, said the contractor of the road concreting project on A. Soriano Ave. (not Ouano Avenue as earlier reported) will start excavating the inner portion of the road tonight.
The road concreting will start in front of the Mandaue City Sports Complex, and ends at the corner of D.M. Cortes St. (formerly known as Plaridel St.).
Antigua said that according to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7, the contractor, P.B. Obial Construction, will finish the project in four months.
The road work will be done one lane at a time.
DPWH 7 earmarked P50 million for the road concreting project and another P129 million for the bridge repair.
Antigua clarified that for the entire duration of the bridge repair, only those vehicles coming from Mandaue going to Lapu-Lapu can pass through the old bridge.
Vehicles coming from Lapu-Lapu will take the Marcelo B. Fernan Bridge to go to Mandaue starting on Monday.
“To minimize traffic congestion on U.N. Avenue, we can possibly extend the truck ban from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., instead of until 8 a.m. only, and from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., instead of until 8 p.m.,” Antigua said.
He said the City Government agreed that the contractor, Jegma Construction, will work 24 hours in three shifts to complete the project in five months.
In Lapu-Lapu, Mayor Paz Radaza said they will deploy more traffic enforcers to manage the traffic and guide motorists taking the Marcelo B. Fernan Bridge and the Mandaue-Mactan Bridge.
She said they may open an alternative route for those going to MCIA, which is the road at the back of City Hall, so that airport-bound motorists will not be stuck in traffic.
From the old bridge, vehicles going to the airport may go straight to Patalinghug Ave., turn left to New Sangi Road, straight to Matumbo Road, then to the airport road.
“The alternative route going to the airport may be longer but at least they will not be trapped in traffic,” Radaza told reporters.
The mayor also advised Lapu-Lapu residents who work in Cebu City to take the ferry boat from Lapu-Lapu to Pier 3.
For Antigua, going to the airport is not much of a problem because the Mandaue-Mactan Bridge’s designated lane for Lapu-Lapu-bound motorists will remain open, and only those coming from Lapu-Lapu going to Mandaue will not be allowed to use the said bridge.
During their coordination meeting with the officials of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu last Wednesday, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7 Director Ador Canlas said the repair of the old bridge cannot be put off because its present condition poses danger to the public.
He said that the bridge was inspected by experts from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica), who found out that the steel bars of the bridge’s posts have been exposed.
The exposed steel bars need to be replaced immediately, otherwise, it will weaken the bridge.
The Mandaue-Mactan Bridge was constructed in 1975 to connect mainland Cebu and Mactan Island. The airport was transferred from Barangay Lahug in Cebu City to Mactan at that time.
During the meeting, Canlas also said that the rehabilitation of the first bridge will also result in the demolition of illegal structures under the bridge. Informal settlers will have to leave the area since there is a risk they will be hit by debris.
DPWH 7 asked for the Mandaue City Government’s support to demolish the informal settlers’ houses, saying the Local Government mandates local government units to keep its constituents away from danger zones.