P50-B Metro Cebu Expressway to start in 2018 –DPWH
Travel from Naga City in the south to Danao City in the north will soon take only an hour from the usual three hours.
This will become possible with the construction of 74-km Metro Cebu Expressway which is expected to start early 2018.
The Department of Public Works and Highways in Central Visayas (DPWH-7) has allotted P300 million from its P50-billion budget to spend for the road right-of-way (RROW) acquisition and initial civil works.
“Starting January of 2018, our planning department will start its parcellary survey to identify how many number of trees and lots would be affected so that we can pay them (owners for RROW acquisition),” said Marie Nillama, DPWH-7 information officer.
Engineer Nonato Paylado, DPWH-7 planning division head, said the initial P300 million allocation would be focused on segment 3 of the three-phase project which would be from Naga City to Minglanilla town.
This section, he added, was selected because it was less tedious and cheaper than the two other segments due to the existing barangay roads.
“The allocation is for civil works and right-of-way acquisition. But as of the moment, we still don’t know how much we should segregate for right-of-way acquisition,” he told Cebu Daily News.
He said the survey would determine which areas in segment 3 were most doable so their contractor could start civil works for the project.
Civil works and RROW acquisition could be done simultaneously because their legal office was already preparing documents for the RROW acquisition.
Paylado said the feasibility study conducted by DPWH consultant CEDCO Engineers already identified the lots and properties that would be affected by the project.
But he added the parcellary survey would update the findings of the feasibility study and be used as basis of a parcellary plan.
“There are instances when an affected lot has been subdivided among heirs. So the payment is not to the mother lot. We need to refine that parcellary plan by early next year,” he said.
Paylado said the initial project cost of P54 billion in the feasibility study was expected to go down by half to over P20 billion because the value of the affected property might have gone down due to the fluctuating fair market value.
“We are coordinating with the local government units to determine the fair market value. Hopefully, within this month, we will be able to come up with the revised right-of-way cost which we already anticipate to be reduced,” he added.
Paylado said they didn’t expect any change in the initial estimates for the civil works component of the project.
Last May, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar announced the implementation of the Metro Cebu Expressway project that would cut down travel time from Naga City to Danao City to about an hour from three hours and decongest traffic in the metro cities.
Feasibility studies for the project had been completed earlier this year.
Villar expressed optimism that the entire project would be finished before the end of President Duterte’s term in 2022.
While the project was funded by the government, Villar raised the possibility that the operation and maintenance of the expressway would be bid out to a private company.
The expressway is divided into three phases — from Talisay City to Cebu City and then to Mandaue City; from Consolacion to Liloan to Compostela to Danao City; and from Naga City to Minglanilla town.
While no details had been released about the project, Paylado said the expressway would traverse along the mountain slopes.
“There is a proposal of a tunnel but not final yet. It is along the section somewhere in the mountain village of Cebu City,” he said.
Aside from properties and lots, the Metro Cebu Expressway project is also expected to affect several trees especially in aligning the mountain villages.
Nillama said the parcellary survey would determine how many trees would be affected by the project.
She said that after the inventory, the results would be forwarded to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Central Visayas (DENR-7) for the application of special tree cutting permits.
“Maybe the cutting of trees will start in the next phase of the project. But for now, we have to count first the number of trees affected before applying of a permit to DENR,” she said.
Nillama said that once the DPWH receives an authority from the DENR to cut, they would immediately start constructing an opening road in Naga City.
The expressway will have four to six lanes as well as a center island.
Nillama explained that the center island would be used if there was a need to further widen the road.
“We are also seeing possibilities of constructing underpass or overpass if there are road that could obstruct the expressway’s construction,” she added.