UNDERPASS WORK STARTS
It was a traffic nightmare for both motorists and passengers yesterday morning as closure of the southbound side of N. Bacalso Ave. for the underpass project started.
Students were running late while passenger vehicles complained of lesser income due to the construction of the P683-million underpass project which started last August.
Sharlaine Mae Tungala, a college student from Cebu Institute of Technology-University (CIT-U), said the closure of the road had annoyed her and other students, especially those who had morning classes.
“If wala pa ko ga habal-habal, ma-late unta ko sa akong morning classes tungod sa traffic” (If I didn’t ride the habal-habal, I would have been late for my morning classes), Tungala said.
For her part, Shehera May Macute, another CIT-U student said that yesterday’s start of the closure of the southbound side of the road has worsened the already problematic traffic situation in the area.
“Traffic was very heavy,” she said.
“Gituyo unta ni nga pag summer ni siya gibuhat kay burden kaayo ni sa mga estudyante” (They should have done this project during the summer because it’s really a burden for students), Macute added.
While they expressed their annoyance on the inconvenience caused by the project, both Tungala and Macute said they understand that the project is for the benefit of commuters and motorists that pass by N. Bacalso Ave.
According to Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) operations head Francisco Ouano, heavy traffic was observed in the construction site in the intersection of N. Bacalso Ave. and F. Llamas St. from 7 a.m. to 9:30 am.
However, he said it became moderate after 9:30 am.
As of 5 p.m. yesterday, he said traffic was also moderate.
“The reason why traffic was heavy in the morning was there were a lot of vehicles. Others were also surprised, they did not know about the scheduled closure. But in one week, I think the situation will improve as they will be able to adjust already,” he said.
All three lanes of the southbound side of N. Bacalso Ave. in front of McDonald’s have been closed to give way to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7 and their contractor to work on the next phase of the underpass project.
On the other side, only one lane of the northbound side of the road, in front of Shopwise, is opened for vehicles.
Alternative roads include Ma. Gochan St., Avocado St. and Ganciang St. for those going to the south.
For those going north, they can also take Cabreros St. and Tagunol St.
Ouano said they would continue to closely monitor the traffic situation in the area today and for the rest of the week.
The closure would continue and there would be no changes, he added.
The closure will continue for the next three months or so.
For his part, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña asked for patience from the public regarding the project.
“We have to do it. Agwanta lang (Let’s just be patient). Because if we delay it some more, that would escape the problem,” he said.
The mayor said that the project should have been done years ago when traffic was not that bad, but he said, “I was not mayor then.”
Aside from students, tricycle drivers also shared their irritation on the traffic jams caused by the project.
Loloy Sanchez, who says he has been a tricycle driver since young and have used his income to support his family, said he has been losing money since the project started.
“Dako kaayo nga kita ang akong nawagtang tungod aning sige og traffic” (I lost a lot of profit due to the frequent traffic jams), Sanchez said.
“Naka graduate gud akong anak og college tungod aning akong pag tricycle” (My child has graduated in college due to the monetary support he gets from my driving services), Sanchez said.
He added “Maayo kung ma pas-pasan ni nila kay gamay ra jud ang akong makuha nga kita kay gamay ra ang manakay” ( It would be good if they speed up the construction a little bit because I don’t profit that much due to lack of passengers).
But not all have been inconvenienced by the project.
Marvin Boyles, a habal-habal driver said that business has been good since a lot of people have been using motorcycles for hire to beat the traffic.
“Sa karon, daghan kaayog manakay og habal-habal, lipay ra sad mi kay dako mig makuha (So far, there are a lot of people that ride the habal-habal, we’re just happy because we are getting a big amount of money),” Boyles said.
Rolly Montejo, a Citom traffic enforcer assigned in the area, said that the traffic on yesterday was by far the worst compared to the previous incidents.
“Ikumpara nimo sa mga ning agi nga adlaw dayon sa karon, mas bintaha tong sa mga ning agi nga adlaw” (If you compare the previous days to today’s traffic, the previous ones were far less horrible), Montejo said.
Montejo advised commuters that in order for them to be able to arrive early to where they are heading, they should head out earlier than the time where traffic congestion is expected.
Montejo also said to lessen the traffic, drivers should also observe traffic rules.
“Usahay kaning mga driver di magpatuo, mag iluganay sa agi-anan, mao nuon nay maka dalag traffic aside sa construction” (Sometimes, these drivers don’t adhere to the traffic rules, they often fight over who would go first in lanes, that cause traffic congestion aside from the construction). /With a report from Correspondent Doris Mae Mondragon