DOT-7 hopes traffic woes will not affect Cebu tourism
Mandaue road PROJECTS
The Department of Tourism in Central Visayas (DOT-7) remains hopeful that while the scheduled road projects in Mandaue City are expected to worsen traffic in the coming days, this will not adversely affect tourism in the province.
Tourism Regional Director Shalimar Tamano said the problems can be avoided with proper and early advisories given to the public.
“That has been the discussion since I came as new regional director. For us, as long as there is private sector participation and there are travel advisories ahead of time, this problem can be managed,” he told Cebu Daily News when sought for comment.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH- 7) is expected to begin its P196.9 million road concreting project on Ouano Avenue at the North Reclamation Area (NRA) next month; while construction of a P946.7 million tri-level pass project along UN Avenue is targeted in July or August.
UN Avenue, a major thoroughfare connects to the Marcelo Fernan Bridge going to Mactan Island.
According to Tamano, the road projects may be a cause of concern as the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) opens Terminal 2 this June.
“We had an inspection with GMR Megawide last week and they already have a date for the opening although they are still finalizing the details,” Tamano said.
GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. (GMCAC), the private operator and manager of the MCIA, plans to invite President Rodrigo Duterte for the opening of the new terminal, said Tamano.
The new terminal, which cost P17.5 billion to build, will cater to around 4.5 to 6 million passengers a year.
At around the same time, the new Bohol International Airport will also open on Panglao Island, in the province of Bohol.
Lapu-Lapu City Tourism Officer Hembler Mendoza called on DPWH-7 to conduct more public consultations on the road projects to avoid adverse effects on local tourism.
Mendoza said that with the influx of more tourists as Terminal 2 opens in June, a proper traffic management plan should be in place before work starts on UN Avenue to prevent traffic gridlocks.
“What’s at stake here is our economy and our tourism industry, more so for Lapu-Lapu City because we have the airport and the different resorts and hotels,” Mendoza said.
“Infrastructure projects like this are always welcome especially if the aim is to manage traffic to and from Lapu-Lapu City. (But) there should be a consultation among stakeholders from the different sectors that will be affected,” he added.
Aside from the tourism sector, Mendoza said other sectors to be affected are the local government units, Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) locators, the airport authority, and the academe.
In Cebu City, Transportation Office Operations Chief Francisco Ouano, said that they need to meet with DPWH so that the city can make the proper traffic plans.
“We want to know what their plans are so that we can also adjust,” said Ouano.
Cebu City’s traffic head intends to recommend to DPWH that only two lanes of the eight-lane Ouano Avenue be closed while the other lanes be kept open for vehicles.
Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña expects people to complain because of the traffic problems resulting from the DPWH projects.
Osmeña said that traffic congestion during the implementation of major road projects could have been avoided had the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project been implemented before.
At the Provincial Capitol, Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III called on the public to be patient and to “sacrifice for a while” as DPWH-7 starts to implement major road projects this year.
“This will definitely bring inconvenience to the public; but we have the tendency to complain when there’s nothing being done. Let’s be patient. This will take some sacrifice. A little inconvenience will not hurt,” said the governor.
Davide also urged DPWH – 7 to ensure that all affected stakeholders will be consulted on its plans to construct various projects and to hasten their completion.
The Traffic Enforcement Agency of Mandaue (Team) has initiated a traffic rerouting scheme in Ouano Avenue which will have a dry run on February 27.
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