ROADWORK STOPPED

By Jose Santino S. Bunachita |April 30,2015 - 12:06 AM

Road concreting project planned at SRP tunnel
Rama orders review of possible schemes to ease traffic

A road concreting project involving the Cebu South Road tunnel approaches is expected to cause a massive traffic jam in the area.

Not today, though.

Mayor Michael L. Rama yesterday stopped the implementation of the project, shortly after Cebu City traffic chief Jonathan Tumulak announced that two of the tunnel’s four lanes will be closed starting Wednesday night.

“We have to be very careful about that. There should be no civil works until we will have a meeting with Citom, DPWH and the contractor. My first question is, what’s the problem? Why fix when it’s not broken?” Rama told reporters yesterday.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is set to undertake a road concreting project to correct the uneven asphalt overlay on the sloping approaches to the tunnel, which connects to the S. Osmeña Road. It will be done by Virlo Construction for four to five months.

Work will be done only at night, but half of the tunnel will be closed to traffic. Only light vehicles will be allowed to pass through the tunnel, Tumulak said.

“The result is there will be traffic congestion near MJ Cuenco Ave. because other vehicles will pass there instead of through the tunnel,” Tumulak told reporters yesterday.

Traffic is normally heavy on the roads leading to the four-lane tunnel during peak hours, from 7:00-9:00 a.m. and 4:30-7:00 p.m.

“You could just imagine what happens when only one lane is open on both sides or only one-way traffic is implemented on half of the way. Traffic will really build up,” Tumulak said.

“It’s a good thing that there are still no classes right now. Once classes start, though, traffic will continue to worsen in the area,” he added.

An alternate route to the South Road Properties (SRP) from Cebu City is through MJ Cuenco Ave. and Legaspi St. Traffic jams may be expected in these areas.

TRAFFIC SCHEME

Cebu City District Engineer Nicomedes Leonor said they will wait for the city government to approve a scheme that could ease traffic flow before implementing the project.

He said the city’s decision will affect the specifics of the project like the timeline and the budget.

For his part, he proposed that half of the tunnel be closed for the roadwork and the other half opened to one-way traffic.

“If Citom and the city government will approve this scheme, it will be easier and faster for us since those that are supposed to use the closed portion can just use the road on top of the tunnel. But it’s still subject for approval,” Leonor said in a separate interview.

He assured though that the contractor will be putting up safety and warning signs to alert motorists.

Virlo Construction, on the other hand, proposed that work start on the inner lanes first. Motorists may still use the outer lanes. Under this scheme, the project could be completed in just four months, Tumulak said.

He said the contractor assured during their meeting on Monday that the curing period for the cement will only take three to five days. But he also said a lot of work has to be done before the actual pouring of the cement.

He said the contractor will have to scrape off the existing asphalt road until the hardest portion of the soil is taken out. It will then be filled with sand and gravel and then compacted by heavy equipment before the actual concreting.

This will take some time especially since the city government will allow the contractor to work only at night to minimize traffic congestion.

Tumulak said they will consider other possible schemes on how to undertake the project.

If necessary, he said Citom will assign additional traffic enforcers in the area since traffic congestion is also expected along MJ Cuenco Ave. and Legaspi St. Extension.

Tumulak said the project is vital because the tunnel leads to the S. Osmeña Road, where a concreting project is also being undertaken.

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