LGU crafts plan to resolve traffic jams in San Fernando

PAMPANGA. No, this is not Edsa but Jose Abad Santos Avenue, where the apparent holiday rush has caused monstrous traffic jams in the City of San Fernando, Pampanga.  (File photo / Chris Navarro)
PAMPANGA. No, this is not Edsa but Jose Abad Santos Avenue, where the apparent holiday rush has caused monstrous traffic jams in the City of San Fernando, Pampanga. (File photo / Chris Navarro)

THE city government of San Fernando is crafting measures to alleviate the looming traffic gridlock on its business district in Barangay Dolores.

The possible traffic build-up on McArthur Highway and Jose Abad Santos Avenue is expected after the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) recommended a truck ban for the Dolores and Lazatin flyovers.

After hearing DPWH’s recommendation, Mayor Vilma Caluag immediately called for a consultative meeting with different sectors on Wednesday to discuss and formulate plans to mitigate the effects of partially closing the bridges to heavy vehicles.

The meeting was attended by representatives of the City Public Order and Safety Coordinating Office (CPOSCO), Department of Education, local police, and the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce (PAMCHAM).

“Katakot-takot na traffic na naman ang kakaharapin ng ating mga motorista dahil dito at siguradong ang reaction na tatanggapin namin ay katakot-takot din. Kaya lang kailangan natin mas iprioritize ang safety ng bawat Fernandino kaya wala na sa kamay natin ito. Ang pwede lang natin magawa ay mabawasan ang magiging epekto nito sa mga motorista natin,” Caluag said.

Caluag said that trucks will temporarily be rerouted from JASA to the McArthur Highway and Lazatin Boulevard to prevent them from passing through the steel flyovers.

She added that they will also limit the volume of trucks traversing the major thoroughfares while awaiting proper engineering intervention from the DPWH.

“Gumagawa po tayo ng paraan para hindi tuluyang matigil ang negosyo nila. ‘Yun nga lang, hindi muna katulad ng dati na 100% operation. Kung halimbawa 100 ang trucks nila na bumabyahe on a regular basis, magiging kalahati muna para lang mabawasan natin ang volume ng sasakyan na dumadaan,” Caluag said.

The plan, however, is expected to aggravate the traffic situation due to additional volume of vehicles that will be diverted to the area.

Based on the survey presented by CPOSCO, at least 7,000 vehicles ply the JASA on a daily basis.

At least half of these are expected to add to the current volume of vehicles utilizing the already busy McArthur Highway.

Another plan presented by Caluag is the implementation of a four-day school week.

Once implemented, classes on affected schools will be set from 7 AM to 7nPM to compensate for the loss of one school day, the mayor day.

CPOSCO also proposed to DPWH the installation of vertical clearances on the entry points of the two steel flyovers.

DPWH was also asked to postpone all road reconstruction and rehabilitation works along McArthur Highway near JASA as they may add up to the traffic problem.

A coordination meeting with officials of the North Luzon Expressway management and malls in the city was also set, CPOSCO said.

“Ito po kasing traffic na pinag-uusapan natin ay normal na araw pa lang. Pero kailangan po natin isipin na magpa-Pasko na at may holiday rush. Kung hindi po tayo magtutulungan, titigil po ang San Fernando,” Caluag said.

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