APEC traffic dry run today

By: Jose Santino S. Bunachita August 13,2015 - 12:54 AM

Vehicles must give way to VIP convoy from Lapu-Lapu to Cebu City  

No roads will be closed but  jeepneys will not be allowed to enter Pope John Paul II Avenue  in Cebu City starting  9 a.m. today.

This is  part of a  traffic rerouting dry run to prepare for meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)  scheduled in Cebu this month.

Vehicles on the road will have to give way to a mock VIP convoy passing through a major  route from Shangri-la Mactan Resort in Lapu-Lapu City to the Marco Polo Plaza in Cebu City.

Organizers want to test the travel time of the convoy and how motorists and commuters respond to the presence of APEC vehicles.

The convoys  will be a familiar feature during the APEC meetings as  3,300 delegates move from one hotel venue to another.

READ: Hotels stand by rate increase | Some Cebu hotels double their rates for APEC | APEC delegtates complain over Cebu’s high hotel rates

Metro Cebu’s traffic congestion, heightened by ongoing road repair in nine national roads in Mandaue City, is a big concern for APEC Cebu organizers.

Only one route will be tested today  from Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa going to Marco Polo Plaza.

In the dry run, a convoy will start in Lapu-Lapu, pass through  Mandaue City and proceed to Cebu City, said Joy Tumulak, operations chief of the Cebu City Transportation Office (CTTO).

If there’s time, the convoy will head back to Mactan.

Traffic agencies of each city will observe the response of commuters, motorists and their own staff.

“We will  also compute how many minutes the trip from one venue to another will take,” Tumulak said.

Comments and suggestions from the public about the dry run are welcome, he said.

There will be no exclusive APEC lanes, an option traffic managers said was not feasible with Cebu City’s narrow roads.

But no jeepneys will be allowed to enter the entire length of Pope John Paul II Avenue where the Carmelite convent and three semininaries are located.

The road will be off limits to PUJs from end to end:  Sergio Osmeña road in the North Reclamation Area to the corner of Archbishop Reyes Avenue near Tesda.

The rerouting  plan for PUJs  in Cebu City was approved by the APEC security group and the APEC local organizing committee.

Three other routes  from one hotel venue to another will be tested in another dry-run next week.

“People should expect sudden changes in traffic flow during the actual  APEC meetings.  Why? Because that’s part of the security plan,” said Tumulak.

The rerouting will last  at least two months.

About 100 APEC meetings will be held in Cebu starting Aug. 22 to Sept.  11, then resume on Oct. 8 to 14.

READ: Wanted: Volunteers for APEC meetings

While no roads will be closed during the dry-run today, Tumulak said vehicles may be stopped at intersections   to give way to a passing convoy.

Once the tail end of the convoy passes, vehicle flow can  resume.

Traffic signal lights may also be set on flashing mode at some  intersections.

This should alert  motorists to follow instructions of traffic enforcers  assigned  to manually guide vehicles  in the area.

Motorcycle-riding traffic escorts will go ahead of the convoy to  “sweep” the route  and stop  vehicles in a certain intersection.

“As much as possible, there should be no other vehicles traveling alongside the convoy,” Tumulak said.

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