Espinoza: No budget for coastal roads?

Free Zone
Espinoza Free Zone
Espinoza Free Zone

A fast-growing population comes with it the surge in the sales of motor vehicles. That’s why Cebu now needs additional roads to reduce the volume of motor vehicles on the already exhausted existing main arteries that connect the metropolis to the towns and cities in the south and north of the province.

Last month, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia ordered the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7 to stop the work on the Metro Cebu Expressway (MCE) that was started during the term of President Rodrigo Duterte because of some environmental and safety concerns.

This national road that will traverse the mountain ridges of Cebu is designed to serve as a backbone highway that will provide a fast and smooth flow of traffic from the City of Naga in the south to Danao City in the north. This project will also address traffic congestion in Metro Cebu’s business centers.

Sadder still is the news that the feasibility study for the proposed Talisay-Minglanilla-Naga coastal road cannot be started because the DPWH 7 does not have a budget for the feasibility study.

The Talisay-Minglanilla-Naga coastal road that will start from the southern tip of the South Road Properties (SRP) to Barangay Tuyan in City of Naga was proposed to lessen the worsening southbound traffic along N. Bacalso Ave. that traverses Talisay City, Minglanilla and the City of Naga from Cebu City, stretching all the way to the last town in the south.

Nonato Paylado, chief of the Planning and Design Division of DPWH 7, revealed the sad status of the proposed project to the Provincial Board (PB) on Monday, March 11, 2024, during its regular session. The PB had invited him to provide an update on proposed road projects in the province that include the Mandaue-Consolacion-Liloan coastal road.

According to Paylado, their regional office does not have enough funds to conduct the feasibility study on the proposed south coastal road, which will cost P18.6 million.

This south coastal road project, Paylado said, will be 15 kilometers long with an estimated cost of P7.8 billion for civil works and the road right-of-way acquisition.

The south coastal road could decongest the traffic gridlock, especially during peak hours, along the Talisay-Minglanilla corridor. Every now and then we hear and read on social media the grumbles of motorists going south after office hours.

Does this suggest that the officials of Talisay City, Minglanilla, and the City of Naga, or the first congressional district representative have done nothing to fast-track this south coastal road project?

Why not have it funded by a public-private partnership (PPP) as suggested by Paylado?

Look at the third bridge. It was done and completed in a short a time. I think motorists, who are in a rush to go home or catch an appointment will not mind paying a toll on the south coastal road if it’s implemented through a PPP.

Maybe, just maybe, there are no takers of the project because the P7.8 billion will not even cover the cost of the acquisition of the road right-of-way (RROW), which, in most cases, can even be more expensive than the actual civil works.

One of the reasons that work on the MCE was earlier discontinued, even before Governor Garcia had ordered the project to be temporarily halted, was because funds for the acquisition of RROW were already deflated.

I strongly suggest through Sixth District PB Member Glenn Anthony Soco that the Province, being the richest local government unit in the country, take and handle both the south and north coastal road projects to eliminate the delay.


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