DPWH-7: Remove trees, widen roads at N. Bacalso Avenue
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Department of Public Works and Highways in Central Visayas (DPWH-7) has sought the support of the Cebu City Council for the road widening project at the Natalio Bacalso Avenue in Barangay Mambaling.
Engineer Nonito Paylado, the chief of the planning division of DPWH-7, said that widening of the service roads of the Mambaling underpass is necessary to relieve the area of traffic congestion.
This was the result of the feasibility study conducted before the start of the underpass construction in 2017.
This would mean the removal of at least 62 trees in the area either through cutting or earth balling. The city council already said they do not want the trees cut, but earth balled and transferred to open space.
Paylado said the DPWH will need the assistance of the city government to finance the earth balling of the trees, as this was not part of the P16.9 million budget for the road widening.
The widening has been suspended in October 2019 because of the right of way (ROW) acquisition issues. But DPWH Secretary Mark Villar insisted this must continue in January 2020.
The trees are the only things left in the way of the road widening.
“There will be no road closure during the road widening. The service roads and the main underpass road will still be accessible to motorists,” he said in a Citizen’s Hour in the council on Wednesday afternoon, March 4, 2020.
However, some members of the council are skeptical of the road widening project saying that it is unnecessary.
Councilor Eduardo Rama, Jr. of the city’s South District, questioned why the service roads should have more lanes than the main thoroughfare which has only two lanes.
“The service roads have four lanes, but the main road is only two lanes. Where is the logic in that?” said Rama.
The councilor also said the underpass has caused flooding in the area when previously there was none.
Paylado insisted it is necessary, as this has undergone feasibility studies.
A four-laned service road can accommodate more vehicles at once. The widening would also incorporate 22 manholes, thereby improving drainage.
Vice Mayor Michael Rama said the underpass was not necessary and the road widening is something that needs to be carefully studied.
For Civic Society Organizations (CSO), the removal of trees is counterproductive and dangerous for the environment.
In their position paper, the CSO representatives jointly asked the city council for a moratorium for tree cutting for the next thirty years and urged the city to protect its remaining natural resources. /rcg
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