THE Cebu City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) has warned motorists of additional vehicular traffic soon in areas surrounding the tunnel on the Cebu South Coastal Road.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Cebu City will be concreting both of the tunnel’s entry points-the one in the South Road Properties (SRP) side and the other on S. Osmeña Blvd.
In an interview yesterday, Citom operations division chief Joy Tumulak said traffic congestion can be expected on M.J. Cuenco Ave. and Plaza Independencia.
He added that vehicular traffic in these areas will be heavy especially during peak hours, considering that there is also an ongoing road widening by DPWH on nearby Palma St. and a road concreting project on Martires Road.
Currently, though, DPWH said there is no exact schedule yet on when the road concreting project of the tunnel’s entry points will be implemented.
Early yesterday morning, Tumulak said that the project, which will be undertaken by Virlo Construction Development Corp., was scheduled to begin last night and will last for five months.
He added that DPWH will undertake the concreting works first on the entry point leading to the inner lanes of the tunnel.
When told about the matter, however, Mayor Michael Rama ordered DPWH not to start the project until he gets briefed about it.
“As of now, do not proceed until we talk about it. Tonight (last night), no civil works will be done until we will have a meeting,” he said.
The mayor wanted to meet with DPWH officials and the contractor.
Rama, in his regular news conference, said he wants to know why DPWH will concrete the tunnel’s entry points. “First question, what is the problem? Number two, why fix if it ain’t broken?” he said.
Tumulak said that DPWH is concreting the tunnel’s entry points since parts of its asphalt-overlaid surface are uneven.
The project, he added, also forms part of the ongoing road concreting by DPWH of the entire stretch of S. Osmeña.
Told about this, Rama said that five months for such a project is too long.
“Five months? Wa sila kuyapi? (Are they serious?) They will close it for five months? Come on,” he said.
The mayor further said that if the project will push through, he wants the contractor to do the work at night.
DPWH Cebu City head Engr. Nicomedes Leonor said yesterday that the project will not start yet since there is no final scheme on how they will go about the road concreting.
Leonor said they are considering doing the work for the tunnel’s entry points starting on the entire right side first, instead of the inner lanes.
This way, their project will be faster and will take less than five months.
Leonor said they are still seeking the approval of the City about that scheme, particularly Citom.
Sought for comment about this, Tumulak said that the City will be meeting again with the DPWH and the contractor to discuss the matter.
“Katong plan nga inner lane lang ang unahon was approved by the (Citom board) chairman (Ruben Almendras) during our meeting last April 20. But since there is another plan, meetingon lang nato ug balik (That plan to start with the inner lanes was approved by Citom Board Chairman Ruben Almendras last April 20. But since there is another plan, we will meet again),” he said.
But whatever scheme the DPWH chooses, Tumulak said the road concreting project at the tunnel will still have effects on vehicular traffic near the facility.
Once it will be implemented, Tumulak said they will advise motorists to take alternative routes such as the M.J. Cuenco Ave. or Legaspi St.
Citom is also advising trailer trucks to avoid the use of the tunnel until the project will be completed.
For smaller vehicles that will be using the facility, Tumulak said they are asking drivers to be “extra careful” to prevent accidents.
“Some drivers, especially coming from the SRP, drive fast,” he said.
Tumulak said, though, that the contractor already vowed to put up warning signs at the tunnel once the project starts.
Citom, he added, will be deploying traffic enforcers to guide motorists and manage the flow of vehicular traffic in the area.