The enigmatic Dolores flyover

Albert Lacanlale
Albert Lacanlale

Motorists and commuters traversing major roads in the City of San Fernando, Pampanga have to deal with daily traffic jams again even after the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) had completed a road concreting project that was the bane of travel in the capital city until early this year.

The road construction has long been completed and everything was already back to normal until one fateful morning when a truck carrying blocks of flattened metal turned-turtle at the Dolores Flyover and created a humongous traffic jam that lasted the whole day.

Because of this sudden turn of event, the city government decided to prohibit trucks and buses from using the flyover. Instead, these were rerouted to the MacArthur Highway or Manila North Road (MNR), then to the Lazatin Boulevard. This new scheme not only caused confusion to motorists but effectively overloaded roads that are already causing bottlenecks of traffic.

When trucks coming from the east cannot pass above the flyover, they take the right service road where large power posts occupy at least one lane of the already narrow road. This is the first congestion point.

Straight ahead is the intersection of MNR and the Jose Abad Santos Avenue (under the flyover). This is where the traffic volume splits to the left towards the direction of the San Fernando city proper, and to the right leading to the northern part of the city. This is the second choke point.

A few meters away is perhaps one of the busiest pedestrian crossings in the city. It is situated in front of the Our Lady of Sorrows Parish where passenger jeepneys converge to pick up or drop passengers. With people crossing from either sides of the road, and PUJs taking their while waiting for passengers (not to mention private vehicles coming in and out of the Church patio), this area poses quite a challenge to navigate.

Moving forward still stands the most problematic area—the MNR-Lazatin Boulevard junction. This is where all trucks and buses add up to the regular traffic volume, and effectively renders the “always go” lane inutile.

With this new rerouting scheme came the daily burden of traffic congestion that make the daily commuter rethink of their decision “to stay in the province where traffic is far better than in Metro Manila.”

And this problem is not going away anytime soon. In the present state of the steel flyover, it will never be opened to accommodate heavy equipment. Only if and when a concrete flyover is constructed will trucks and buses be allowed access above it.

We understand that the city government wanted to keep the flyover passable at least to light vehicles while a new one is yet to be constructed. If they will allow trucks to use it, we’ll probably lose the entire structure in the not-so-distant future. We don’t like this happen, of course.

The DPWH, on the other hand, is still waiting for funding to construct a longer and sturdier flyover, which, if reports are true, will be long enough to straddle three intersections along JASA—Dolores, Lazatin and Magliman (roughly three kilometers).

Maybe, the city traffic management team is trying out all possible schemes to address the burgeoning traffic congestions in the capital city, and they are in the “trial and error” phase to eventually come up with the best solution.

Even commuters and motorists alike can adjust to the new scheme but there should be some consistency in the implementation of rerouting plans to avoid confusion among motorists that could further exacerbate the already worsening traffic condition.

Proper information campaign is also needed to update the public on what is new, where one can or cannot pass whenever there are new route designs taking effect.

I don’t want to think that we are slowly becoming the next Metro Manila when we talk about traffic, but with what we observe every day, this may just be what is going to happen to San Fernando. That is why drastic and long-term solutions should be put in place, if not now, at least in the soonest possible time.


No stories found.

Just in

No stories found.

Branded Content

No stories found.
SunStar Publishing Inc.