Trees, heritage sites to be factored in on Cebu BRT engineering design
The fate of trees growing along the proposed Bus Rapid Transit route and the preservation of heritage sites will be concerns that will be looked into during the preparation of the project’s detailed engineering design, said Michel Kerf of the World Bank yesterday.
Kerf, manager for transport and ICT practice for East Asia and the Pacific, said the World Bank wants to make sure that the project’s social and environmental impact concerns are addressed.
“The trees is a question that needs to be looked at carefully during the stage where the detailed engineering design will be defined. The goal in that phase is to try to optimize the design of the project and maximize the benefits and minimize its negative impact,” he said.
Kerf was at Cebu City hall shortly yesterday to call on Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella.
He said that the World Bank wants the Cebu BRT project to succeed as the first in the country so that will be serve as model for other BRTs to be set up in Manila and other parts of the country.
“Sometimes it’s difficult to prevent the negative impact of a project but it can be minimized,” said Kerf.
Rafael Yap, City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) executive director, said the BRT project’s detailed engineering design is undergoing bid evaluation at the Department of Telecommunication and Communication (DOTC).
Project design preparation is scheduled in January and will be completed in six months to a year.
Labella told Kerf about the need to preserve heritage sites along the BRT route from Bulacao in the south to Talamban in the north.
The project will pass by the historical Fuente Osmeña circle and Osmena Boulevard.
The BRT project is estimated to cost about $200 million dollars.
Kerf said the World Bank is committed to grant the Philippine governmenta $116 million loan for its implementation.
The French government is also helping fund the project. Kerf said the national government is scheduled to give the World Bank a copy of President Aquino’s approval of the loan application on or before September 26.
Signing of the loan contract will follow.
“The next step is very important because it will determine what the project will look like,” he said.
Kerf said the detailed engineering study will determine if there is a need too change the BRT route away from the Fuente Osmeña circle.
“All options will have to be looked at. The best possible solution must be designed,” he added.
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