Road closures to be imposed for removal of skywalks along Osmeña Blvd

By: Niña Mae C. Oliverio - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | December 01,2023 - 05:50 PM

The working committee for the Fiesta Señor 2024, composed of the friars from the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño, Cebu City officials, Cebu City Transportation Office, Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, and Bus Rapid Transit, conducted on Friday morning, December 1, a ‘walk through’ to recheck the usual routes for the solemn foot processions in January 2024. | CDN File Photo/Niña Mae Oliverio

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Road closures will be imposed soon along Osmeña Boulevard to expedite the removal of skywalks before January 2024.

Around 5:25 a.m. on Friday, members from the church, Cebu City officials, and representatives from the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT) management had a walk-through to inspect the feasibility of returning the original route of the Fiesta Senor foot processions which will pass along Osmeña Blvd.

Points of concerns

Harold Alcontin, head of CCDRRMO, told CDN Digital on Friday, December 1, that among the risks they identified based on their initial assessment were the blue and yellow separators, and the stations at the center of the main thoroughfare.

“Kung ato gyud na siyang tan-awon, delikado sa mga mo-join sa mga procession kay ang usa sa separators naa sa ubos, gagmay kaayo siya unya kung ang crowd sa solemn procession mo milyon gud na, delikado siya nga maka-pandol sa taw. Kasagaran baya ang mokuyog sa procession mga elderly ug mga bata,” said Alcontin.

He added that because of the tight space during the procession, the public might not be able to notice that there are separators which could hamper their walk and worse, could result in a stampede.

“Usa sa recommendations sa atong office is to remove the separator unya ang kaning structure (blue-colored metal sheets) ipa-align lang sa sakto gyud sa atong plano kay at least modako ang dan,” he said.

Another concern that he raised was the skywalk.

“Kung mahimo, ma-remove na gyud siya kay para mas mo[hapsay] atoang flow sa procession kay wala nama’y tunga-tunga niya nga column nga nagbarog. Once makuha siya, mas modako gyud [ang space] labi na didto sa [Cebu] Normal [University] nga area,” he said.

Temporary road closures

With this, they also recommended having temporary road closures during the operations.

“Ato gyung sirad-an. During sa ilang operations labi na ang pag-clearing ug ang pag transfer aning skywalk, magbuhat og scheme ang atoang CCTO (Cebu City Transportation Office) in terms of traffic, at the same time, we [will be] present on the operations for the safety pod,” Alcontin said.

“Kini siya, ang original plan man gyud ni. Dugay na sad ni natong gigamit so tested nani siya, so for me, kung wala lang gyud ni siyang BRT, maayo gyud kaayo atoang ruta kay mao man gyud ni siya ang original,” he added.

READ: Fiesta Señor 2024: Will original foot procession route be used?

However, because of the ongoing construction of the BRT, they had to make “minor changes” and observe safety measures for the safety of the devotees.

“Usa sad sa nakalahi karon, wala na ta’y island tungod sa features nga gibutang. Mura ra sad hinuon nga naa ta’y gamayng ‘apan’ but all in all base sa walk-through karon, doable man pod hinuon kaayo ang atong gi-recommend,” said Alcontin.

To finish within 15 to 20 days

He added that collaboration and coordination among the stakeholders are needed to expedite the operations.

“Kung mahimo, within 15 to 20 days, basta di mahuman ang December, clear nana kay at least naa tay time to assess and another walk-throughs basig naa pa ta’y laing makit-an, so naa pa ta’y time,” he said.

Meanwhile, in a separate interview, CCTO Head Raquel Arce said that they had to implement road closure when the operation for the removal of the skywalks located along Osmeña Boulevard, specifically near the Fuente Osmeña Circle and near the Cebu Normal University (CNU) will start.

“For the skywalks, ang atong buhaton is first usa ka skywalk kung asa dapita [sugdan og una], isira, full road closure ta. For example, skywalk sa Abellana, sirad-an gyud nato after the R. Landon intersection to P. Del Rosario, so mag divert ta sa atoang traffic anhang dapita. Ang atong main nga [agianan] ang R. Landon na,” she said.

“Kung kining skywalk [near Fuente Osmeña] ang tangtangon, ubos sa Fuente tungod sa skywalk ug kaning sa Arlington Pond, so anha dinha ang road closure. Full. Ato gyung isira gyud tibuok considering nga heavy equipment ang pagtrabaho aron malikayan ang disgrasya,” she added.

The removal of the skywalks will not start simultaneously, Arce said, because it might pose difficulties in terms of traffic.

“Suggest ta nga e-one at a time lang ta,” she said.

She added that since the disaster office already estimated the time frame of the operations for the skywalks, she hoped that before January the skywalks would have been removed.

Advise to motorists

“Ako lang gihangyo atong mga motorista nga mo-abide lang ta og unsa’y mga directional signs atong mga traffic signs, unya please bare with us lang kung adunay mga idungang kahasol considering nga kining tanan atong gibuhat, atong gipadali para ragyud sad ni sa kaayohan,” she said.

The CCTO will post an update regarding the diversion routes when the removal of the skywalks will start and Arce advised the public to check CCTO’s Facebook page for guidance on the directional signs.

In a separate interview with Councilor Jerry Guardo, chairman of the committee on infrastructure, he said that the skywalks will be relocated at the South Road Properties.

“Mahimo siyang functional gihapon nga mahimo siyang foot bridge. Ang mga taw, maka connect padung sa SRP, in time for the Sinulog. But tan-awon unya namo sa engineering [office] how will it be possible,” Guardo said.

On his part, he said that the removal of the two skywalks is possible within a week.

As of writing, the stakeholders are yet to announce the starting date of the road closure for the removal of the skywalks.


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TAGS: BRT, Cebu City, foot processions, road closures, skywalks

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