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Osmeña Blvd.: Another road closure expected in area as CBRT pushes forward

By: Pia Piquero - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | March 12,2024 - 01:38 PM

Osmeña Blvd. CBRT road closure: Another road closure expected in area as CBRT pushes forward

The Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) announced the road closure in a portion of N. Bacalso Avenue for the bus rapid transit station in the area. The closure starts from September 25 to November 25, 2023. | CDN File photo by Niña Mae Oliverio

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Another road closure is expected along Osmeña Boulevard in the coming days as the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT) project must proceed despite the ongoing political controversy surrounding it.

Lawyer Kent Francesco Jongoy,  assistant department head of the Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO), now known as the Road Management Authority (RMA), said that the agency would still discuss later today the new feature—a link to the port—as part of Package 1 of the Cebu BRT project.

The new feature will stretch from the intersection of P. del Rosario, along a portion of Osmeña Boulevard, to the intersection of MJ Cuenco right in front of Plaza Independencia.

READ: Newly endorsed CBRT manager Jongoy awaits formal appointment

According to Jongoy, they will be deliberating the feature since the contractor for the Cebu BRT project, Hunan Road and Bridge Construction Group Ltd., has already submitted a request to their office for a temporary road closure.

“Dako dako gyud ni siya’g impact the existing two lanes per bound. Two lanes man ni atong Osmeña Boulevard will be reduced into one lane both bounds kay atoang i-extend atong sidewalk,” Jongoy said in a media forum on Tuesday, March 12.

(It has a bigger impact in the existing two lanes per bound. The two lanes of Osmeña Boulevard will be reduced into one lane both bounds because we will extend our sidewalk.)

READ: Things to know about the Cebu BRT — the first in the country

Jongoy noted that the extension of the sidewalk was in line with the directive of Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama to pedestrianize the entire historical district of Osmeña Boulevard, which includes the vicinity of Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño.

He further clarified that with this major adjustment in the road traffic of Cebu City, the contractor relayed to RMA that they would need at least a month of road closure in order to complete this particular feature.

Moreover, when asked about if this new feature was part of the initial design of Package 1 of the Cebu BRT, Jongoy said that they too were “surprised” by the new development.

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“Even kami didto sa (Even us here in) RMA na surprise mi (we were surprised) that there’s something like a link to the port [feature] because it was discussed last year when DOTR first initiated their first road closure,” he explained.

As much as the RMA wanted to adhere to their principle of “calming the traffic,” Jongoy expressed that they faced challenges in doing so. This was because requests for road closures to their office were often immediate, providing them with less than a week’s notice to prepare.

“This afternoon, I hope the DOTr (Department of Transportation) will also explain their side regarding the significance of this new feature to the Cebu BRT. The city doesn’t want the project to stop, but we want to be fully informed,” he said.

He said that the agency would need to be well-informed about traffic matters, as this knowledge could make the difference between public dissatisfaction and traffic accessibility.

Meanwhile, although there had been no definite schedule for when the road closure would start, Jongoy mentioned that they would recommend to the contractor to commence operations at 11 p.m. and conclude at 4 a.m. the following day.

The lawyer suggested that if possible, the contractor should implement the closure by segment to ensure a gradual and calm traffic flow.

“It would be very challenging to us kay bisan abli na na tanan [dalan] ma-traffic man gani gihapon ta, how much more if they would implement a temporary closure,” Jongoy said.

(It would be very challenging to us because even all are opened [road] it will also be a congested area, how much more if they would implement a temporary closure.)

Jongoy further said that RMA would be in constant communication with jeepney operators regarding the upcoming road traffic developments.

He also noted that a particular jeepney group had supported the idea.

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TAGS: CBRT, Osmeña Boulevard, Road closure

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