WHERE TO NOW?
With Liloan expressing concerns over total road closure, Ironman organizers still don’t have route for bike phase
Barely two months left before the Regent Aguila Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Championships, there is still no clear route for the 90-kilometer bike phase of the internationally renowned triathlon event set on Aug. 5.
This after one of the mayors of the local government units (LGUs) in northern Cebu expressed concerns over the request of an eight-hour road closure of the National Highway and North Coastal Road for the bike segment of the swim-bike-run race.
Liloan town Mayor Christina Garcia Frasco said she is willing to have the bike route pass through her town if Sunrise Events Inc. (SEI), the organizers of the Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Championships, will prepare an alternate route for motorists to use.
“These major high capacity roads provide the only direct access to and from Liloan and the North of Cebu. If closed for eight hours, over 100,000 people in Liloan will not have mobility,” Frasco said in a statement posted in her Facebook page. “I said that if they close our main roads for that long, they should be able to provide an alternative route for people to pass. They said they want entire road closure as their priority is the safety of their athletes. My priority is the welfare of our people.”
For the past six years the Ironman event was held in Cebu, the Cebu South Coastal Road (CSCR) at the South Road Properties (SRP) was used as part of the bike course. But Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña denied last week SEI’s application to use the CSCR this year due to traffic congestion concerns.
The mayor said the CSCR is important for motorists especially since there is an ongoing construction of an underpass along Natalio Bacalso Avenue in Mambaling.
SEI’s plan B was to go north, using the Cebu North Coastal Road and the National Highway through the towns of Consolacion, Liloan, Compostela, Carmen and the City of Danao.
Frasco explained she fully supports the Ironman and other sporting events but she is also concerned of the welfare of her constituents.
“As we would really like to help in the success of Ironman in Cebu without compromising the welfare of our constituents, I am hopeful that Sunrise and the Provincial Government would be able to propose an alternative to their present proposition as it practically leaves the people of Liloan and the north at a complete standstill for eight hours with zero access,” Frasco said.
Provincial Sports Commission Chief Lawyer Ramil Abing respected the decision of the mayor.
“The goal now is for the organizer Sunrise Events Inc. (SEI) to have their plan C,” Abing said.
Cebu Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, who currently sits as the Acting Governor while Gov. Hilario Davide III is still on leave, suggested an alternative, which is to use the 40-kilometer, diversion road also known as the Dapdap-Paril Road. This directly connects Cebu City to Compostela without passing through Mandaue City, and the towns of Consolacion and Liloan.
“Why not, nindot pa ang trail. Mas challenging,” Magpale said.
The diversion road, which is undergoing road concreting, will be passing Barangays Paril, Mabini, Binaliw, Pit-os and Talamban in Cebu City, then Barangays Tag-ubi, Dapdap, Mulao, Basak, Bagalnga, Cambayog and Canamucan in Compostela.
But SEI General Manager Princess Galura said they have looked at other options but maintained that the only viable route is going north.
“It is still being worked on. The most viable option is going north, so we are going to work on Liloan. That is what we worked on the whole day today,” said Galura.
She added that they cannot just move the race somewhere else because a lot of logistics is involved and most of the participants have already booked their accommodation at the Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa.
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