By: Doris Mae Mondragon June 16,2018 - 10:22 PM

UNDERPASS CONSTRUCTION 75% COMPLETE/JUNE 16, 2018: Construction workers inspect the concreted crossing portion of N. Bacalso corner F Lliamas street underpass which is 75% completed.(CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)


A note to southern Cebu City commuters: just a little more patience and the horrendous traffic situation in the area will ease by the end of this year.

The construction of the P683-million underpass project at the intersection of N. Bacalso Avenue and F. Llamas St. in Barangay Mambaling, Cebu City, is set to be “substantially” completed by December, or three months ahead of the target schedule.

Engr. Roy Dela Cruz, the project engineer of the Department of Public Works and Highways in Central Visayas (DPWH-7), on Saturday said the underpass is now 75 percent complete.

“I can assure the public that the project will be substantially completed by December 2018,” he told Cebu Daily News.

Although the underpass won’t be open to vehicles until January or February 2019, Dela Cruz said the two lanes on both sides of the project will be available for vehicular traffic before this year ends.

“By that time, the traffic flow in and around the project site will be better,” he said.

Dela Cruz said workers have finished concreting the underpass’ pavements on Friday evening and are now wrapping up the project’s Phase 3.

‘Depressed structure’

Based on the design, the entire project will be 700 meters long. However, the actual underpass or technically referred to as a “depressed structure,” will be only 620 meters with a vertical clearance of 5.2 meters.

The underpass will have a sump tank, which will store runoff water so rainwater will not flow to the depressed portion. The stored water will then be pumped into the drainage line, which is among the components of the project.

Upon completion, the depressed portion will have two lanes — one going southbound and another, northbound.

This will accommodate vehicles going from Cebu City to the south and vice versa while passing straight through N. Bacalso Avenue.

On each side of the depressed portion are the existing two-lane streets which can accommodate vehicles that will turn to and from F. Llamas Street.

Phase 4

Next month, Dela Cruz said they will start with Phase 4, which involves concreting the northbound lane of the road beside the underpass.

In Phase 4, the southbound lane of the highway, which was closed for Phase 3, will be opened to traffic.

Dela Cruz assured the public that they will not close the northbound lane unless the southbound lane will be opened.

“We have to make sure that one lane is open to vehicles,” he said.

Last week, Cebu City Councilor Dave Tumulak, deputy mayor on police matters and traffic concerns, appealed to DPWH-7 and its project contractor, WT Construction, to postpone the closure of the northbound lane to avoid severe traffic congestion especially now that classes have started.

The construction of the underpass project, which started in August 2017, has affected commuters from the southern barangays of Cebu City, including Basak San Nicolas, Basak Pardo, Mambaling, Punta Princesa, Quiot Pardo, Poblacion Pardo, Cogon Pardo, and Bulacao.

Tumulak said the Cebu City government is ready to deploy at least 15 Kaohsiung buses to ferry stranded passengers during the morning and afternoon rush hours once Phase 4 starts.

“We really expect heavy traffic in the area on Monday (June 18) since many universities will start their classes,” he said.

“We would like to appeal to DPWH-7 to fast track the construction of the project so that we can already use all the roads,” he said.

Traffic strategy

Cebu City’s Traffic Operations Management (Citom) operations chief Francisco Ouano said they are preparing for a traffic management plan by the time the northbound lane of N. Bacalso Avenue will be closed to traffic.

“We were already advised on the closure of the northbound lane. We will look for a traffic strategy. At the moment, we could not yet have a final traffic scheme since we still have to assess the situation,” he said.

At present, at least 14 traffic enforcers are deployed in the area.

The traffic plan suggested by Tumulak and Dela Cruz will include diverting northbound vehicles either to Tagunol or Cabreros Streets; closing the southbound lane of N. Bacalso Avenue every 6 to 9 in the morning to give way to northbound traffic; or diverting vehicles bound for Talisay City to Caimito, Sabellano, and Macopa Streets.
“And from 4 p. m. to 9 p. m., N. Bacalso will be opened to vehicles from the city proper, going south,” Tumulak said.

“We urge the public to wake up early or to adjust their trip schedules so they won’t get stuck in traffic while the construction of the underpass project continues,” he added.

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TAGS: Cebu City, completion, Department of Public Works and Highways in Central Visayas (DPWH-7), Depressed structure, DPWH-7, Mambaling, N. Bacalso Avenue, NEARING, Phase 4, Traffic strategy, underpass

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