A taxi driver cited last month for returning cash to a Korean national was hurt after his vehicle figured in a head-on collision with a sports utility vehicle on the newly concreted S. Osmeña Road.
Valerio Boybanting, driver of Ken Taxi, was traveling south from the airport when the SUV, which was bound for Mandaue City, smashed into a concrete black-and-yellow barrier and headed towards him at around 11:30 p.m. on Thursday.
Witnesses said SUV driver Marcelo Tan may have lost consciousness after hitting the barrier. There was no attempt to swerve and avoid hitting the taxi, which had stopped. Both drivers and taxi passenger Hazel Bartobalac are in the hospital for treatment.
The accident highlighted the need for center islands to prevent crossover crashes on a high-speed highway like S. Osmeña Road.
The center island was removed and the trees transplanted as part of a P289-million concreting and widening project of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
In its place are concrete black-and-yellow barriers, also known as jersey barriers, and improvised barriers made of discarded tires with plants.
“These are only temporary. Some of them were placed by the contractor (WT Construction) while some were placed by (Cebu) city,” DPWH-7 regional director Ador Canlas said in a telephone interview yesterday.
He said the barriers are designed to minimize vehicle damage and prevent crossover collisions.
Canlas said the project also involves the installation of street lamps. The lack of illumination increases the risk of vehicular accidents.
“The city even requested LED lamps but we have to see if it fits our budget,” he said.
Reflectorized stickers were placed along the road but these have vanished, Canlas said.
“There are too many pilferages, probably because it’s near the port area. They don’t know the importance of what they’re taking,” he said.
Canlas said his office has applied reflectorized paint on the barriers to address this issue.
The concrete barrier hit by Tan’s vehicle on Thursday night crumbled.
The SUV nearly rammed into the Cebu Daily News building at the corner of S. Osmeña Road and Kaohsiung Street after hitting the taxi. The impact spun the taxi around, causing it to hit a CDN multicab parked in front of the building.
“Pagkabangga niya, ni-diritso pa siya hangtod naigo ang taxi. Natuyok kausa ang taxi, nabangga pud niya ang parked nga multicab sa CDN (After he hit [the barrier], the SUV continued on its path and rammed the taxi and a parked CDN multicab),” said CDN security guard Jerolito Cañete.
Personnel from the Emergency Rescue Unit Foundation (ERUF) and UNTV brought Tan, Boybanting and Hazel Bartobalac to the hospital.
Boybanting is in stable condition, said Ken manager Maricor Castañares. The driver underwent a CT scan yesterday.
“Ken is helping with the hospital expenses. We sent a company representative to the hospital (yesterday),” she said in a text message to Cebu Daily News.
She described Boybanting as married, with adult children. He shares the vehicle with another driver.
The S. Osmeña Rd. project is 80 to 90 percent complete, Canlas said.
The road connects to the Cebu South Coastal Road, which traverses the South Road Properties and links Cebu City to Talisay City.
“What’s left to complete are the center installations, street lamps, and paint on the lanes,” he added.
It was delayed after the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) issued the contractor a cease-and-desist order over the “mysterious” disappearance of trees planted in the center island.
Canlas said until a design for the replacement of the center island is approved, the temporary barriers will stay.
He said the Cebu City government has requested his office to come up with a design in coordination with SM City Cebu.
“If SM is willing, then we won’t be shouldering the costs,” said Canlas.
He said Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama told him that he wants the
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