Iconic bridge to lick Cebu’s traffic problems?
The lament of local businessmen over the worsening traffic congestion in Metro Cebu is understandable. For one thing, the traffic situation cuts across all sectors of society. For another, local government officials can’t get their act together in finding a solution. The problem associated with a fast growing metropolis and rising population is like a ticking time bomb that Cebu could just end up like Metro Manila.
Metro Manila is notorious for having the worst traffic in the world, one that translates to a daily loss of P3.5 billion according to a report by the Japan International Cooperation Agency JICA published early last year. Worse, it’s a complex problem with no solution in sight. Even President Rodrigo Duterte seemed to have thrown in the towel. He was saying solving Metro Manila’s traffic problem is one campaign promise that he failed to deliver. To me, that declaration is a signal for investors to go to Cebu, Davao or Clark in that particular order.
Cebu has seen unprecedented economic growth sparked by investments in real estate development, business process outsourcing and tourism-oriented industries. However, as has been pointed out by business leaders as well as local and foreign investors, the economic boom could go bust if the traffic problem is not fixed.
Fortunately, there’s hope and I see it pinned on the completion of the Cebu Cordova Link Expressway CCLEX also known as the 3rd Cebu Bridge.
This I heard from Engineer Allan Alfon, President and CEO of the Cebu Cordova Link Expressway Corporation CCLEC, in an interview over the advocacy show, “Co-op TV.”
CCLEC, a subsidiary of the Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation, is implementing the big ticket infrastructure project under a joint venture agreement with Cebu City and the municipality of Cordova. Delivery of the P30 billion-project, which will connect mainland Cebu from Cebu City to Cordova town on Mactan Island, is August 2021 although the facility will not be open to users until October or November 2021.
As we all know, the completion of the 3rd Cebu Bridge falls within the quincentenary celebration of the Christianization of the Philippines and Asia so that excitement is building over the realization of the iconic project. Still, it is on the project’s impact over Metro Cebu’s current traffic situation that is topmost in the minds of local leaders that I needed to hear the lowdown from Engineer Allan Alfon himself.
According to the CCLEC top honcho, the CCLEX will primarily serve the south market so that if one is coming from the the airport and has no intention of doing business along the way, he can go directly to his destination via the 3rd bridge. Or if he’s going to the airport from Cebu City especially from the southern part of the city, there’s no point in going to Mandaue and Lapulapu and pass through the first or second Mactan Mandaue Bridge. Engineer Alfon estimates that travel time going to and leaving the airport via the 3rd bridge will be significantly reduced by an hour at least.
Moreover, he revealed that the municipality of Cordova through the Department of Public Works and Highways is constructing a new road along the Gabi River. This will further expedite traffic from the 3rd bridge going to the airport or resorts in Lapulapu City.
On the whole, traffic will become manageable brought about by the impact of CCLEX towards attracting traffic from the south direct to Mactan Island, rather than traffic from the south mixing with current traffic in northern Cebu City, Mandaue and Lapulapu cities, Alfon emphasized.
According to Alfon, CCLEC is currently in discussion with local government officials, as well as locators and big developers in the South Road Properties SRP in coming up with a better, effective and long term traffic management system. This is because once completed, CCLEX will connect with the South Coastal Road, a situation that calls for “a better, effective and long term traffic management scheme that will benefit Cebu City.”
A sound traffic management system will likewise benefit locators which will redound to the expansion of the SRP with its value going into maximum use.
On the subject of investments which are expected to pour in, Alfon said the biggest beneficiary would be the 3rd class municipality of Cordova.
“Investors are already looking at Cordova for investments in industrial parks, real estate development for commercial and residential uses as well as in tourism. Cordova can take advantage of new investments because it has still a lot of raw land that can be tapped for development.”
Meanwhile, investors will take a second look at Lapulapu and Mandaue because traffic congestion in these areas will be significantly minimized, according to Alfon. (To be continued)
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