Dad: Drainage in N. Bacalso a Cebu City gov’t priority

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | September 12,2020 - 05:25 PM
Knee-deep flooding along Natalio Bacalso Street at the Mambaling Underpass sideroad on September 10, 2020. The flooding is caused by the drainage problem in the area. | Photo Courtesy of Sylvester Ramirez

Cebu City Councilor Jerry Guardo, chairman of the committee on infrastructure, has assured that the drainage along N. Bacalso Avenue is a priority of the Cebu City government. | Photo Courtesy of Sylvester Ramirez

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu City Councilor Jerry Guardo, City Council’s chairperson for committee on infrastructure, has assured the public that the drainage problem at Natalio Bacalso Highway is a priority of the Cebu City government.

Guardo said that most of the P1.5 billion budget allotted for the drainage masterplan in the city had been allocated for N. Bacalso including the area surrounding the Mambaling Underpass.

Read: DPWH urged: Widen drainage along Mambaling Underpass

On September 10, 2020, images of heavy flooding despite moderate rains became viral drawing the attention to the unresolved drainage problems at the Mambaling Underpass sideroads.

Guardo said that an impending road widening project was waiting for the Council’s approval and that should also include the drainage system, which the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) would implement at the Mambaling Underpass sideroads.

The DPWH has proposed a 36 by 36 inches culvert, but City Engineering has appealed to increase it to 72 by 72 inches to accommodate more water volume.

The arguments regarding the size of the culverts are among the reasons why the project has been delayed, aside from the delays caused by the pandemic.

“I have already asked the City Engineering and the DPWH to coordinate on a culvert design because we cannot push through with the project if they continue to argue on the size of the culverts. Personally, I want a bigger culvert because it can hold more water,” said Guardo.

Roadblocks

However, Guardo also cited the roadblocks that the project would be facing. 

Once the DPWH and City Engineering can agree on the culvert size, the project will face another obstacle, getting the Council to approve the project.

South District councilors previously said in the session that they were hesitant to let the road widening to push through because of the traffic it might cause, and also they would want the assurance that the flooding problems would be solved.

Other councilors are also not convinced with the proposal to cut some trees and earthball the others along the current sidewalks because they want the trees to remain.

Finally, the right of way acquisition of the properties along the highway that would allow the road widening has hit a snag as well with some property owners refusing to give way to the road widening.

“There are so many obstacles to pushing through with the widening project, but the city government is helping the DPWH,” said Guardo.

As a short term solution for the flooding in the area, the city has conducted declogging and desilting in the canals to allow the flow of water to be unhampered.

Guardo said he hoped that the DPWH road widening project could begin this year because DPWH Secretary Mark Villar, who visited the Mambaling Underpass early this year, insisted the road widening project should continue as soon as possible.

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