Commuters and motorists should brace for heavy traffic in Cebu City’s south district in the next few weeks as construction of an underpass project in the intersection of N. Bacalso Avenue gets underway this month.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7 said the underpass project in the intersection of N. Bacalso Ave. and F. Llamas St. in Cebu City starts construction this June in time for the school opening.
In a stakeholder’s meeting at the DPWH regional office yesterday morning, DPWH-7 Regional Director Ador Canlas asked for public understanding and support on the P683-million project.
“Again, this is a one step backward, two steps forward project. This will provide a solution for better traffic flow in Cebu City,” Canlas said during the meeting attended by barangay officials, traffic officials, transport groups and business owners within the affected area.
“We need everybody’s support. At the end of the day, when this project is completed, all of us will benefit from this. We’re counting on your support,” he said.
DPWH-7 Planning and Design Division Chief Nonato Paylado said based on the project’s contract, construction of the underpass will take around 720 days. The contract was awarded to WT Construction Inc. which is in a joint venture with Cedco Engineers Consortium.
Based on the final design, the entire project will be 700 meters long, but the actual underpass will be only 620 meters. It will also have a vertical clearance of 5.2 meters.
The underpass will also hold a sump tank that will store runoff water during rains so as not to flood the depressed portion. The stored water will then be pumped into the drainage line, which is among the components of the project, afterward.
Upon completion, the underpass will have two lanes that are two-way. This will accommodate vehicles going from Cebu City to the south and vice versa while passing just straight through N. Bacalso Avenue.
On each side of the depressed portion, there will also be two-lane roads which can accommodate those who have to turn to and from F. Llamas St. going to the city.
Paylado explained that they are also working on widening N. Bacalso Ave. from the current 20 meters to 30 meters.
DPWH lawyer Dean Martin Padoga said they started filing expropriation cases for the acquisition of the affected properties to be made part of the road right of way (RROW) for the project.
Engr. Roy dela Cruz, the project engineer from the DPWH, said the construction of the project will be divided into six stages with each stage targeted to take three to four months long.
The first stage will involve the boring and piling works for the foundation of the project along the southbound lanes of N. Bacalso Ave. in the portion in front of Mcdonald’s. The portion will have to be closed to pave way for the project.
Dela Cruz said they coordinated with the Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) in developing a traffic rerouting scheme for passenger jeepneys affected by the closure of portion for the first stage.
Only vehicles coming from Cebu City going to the south will be affected in the first stage. Those from the south going to Cebu City can still use the northbound lanes of N. Bacalso Ave.
A traffic dry-run will be jointly implemented by the DPWH and CCTO on June 7 and June 8 to simulate the closure of the affected portion for the project’s first stage.
“If there are no hitches found during the dry-run, we will proceed with the mobilization of the contractor’s equipment. We are looking at the week after the dry-run. So the dry-run on June 7 and 8 is very critical,” Canlas said.
Under the scheme, PUJs with route numbers 10C, 10D, 10E and 10F going south will have to turn right to Ma. Gochan St. going to Ganciang St., and then turn right to F. Llamas St. and back to N. Bacalso Ave.
Southbound PUJs with route numbers 10H, 10K and 10M will just take Katipunan St. instead of passing through N. Bacalso Ave. From there, they will turn left to F. Llamas St., turn left to Macopa St., and turn right back to N. Bacalso Ave. going to their usual route.
Those coming from the designated PUJ terminal at the Taboan Market like 41D, 42 and 42D PUJs will follow Lakandula St., turn right to C. Padilla St. and straight to Tagunol St., then to Rizal Ave. Extension. From there, they will turn right to A. Gabuya St., turn right to F. Jaca St., turn left to J. Tabura St., then left to N. Bacalso Ave.
PUJs with route numbers 44A and 44E will turn left from N. Bacalso Ave., to J. Tabura St., turn right to E. Sabellano St., right turn to Bayanihan St., and turn right back to N. Bacalso Ave. and proceed to Naga City.
All these schemes will be for the first stage only. There are different schemes for the remaining stages.
Dela Cruz said stage two of the project will involve closure of the northbound portion of N. Bacalso Ave. in front of Shopwise.
The third stage will involve closure the southbound portion of N. Bacalso Ave. in front of Super Metro Basak while the fourth stage will be on the northbound portion right across Super Metro Basak.
The fifth and sixth stages will be focused on the depressed portion in the center of the road, in the northbound and southbound sides respectively.
“As for private vehicles, we have no specific rerouting. They can just pass through the different alternate routes depending on their discretion,” Dela Cruz advised, adding that people affected should manage their time and leave for their destinations earlier.