No Cebu-Mactan fastcraft, barge trips yet
With only four more days before major repairs resume on the first Mandaue-Mactan Bridge, there are still no fastcraft or barge trips between Cebu and Mactan.
As of yesterday, authorities were still looking for alternative wharves where barges can dock.
Ocean Fast Ferries Corp., on the other hand, said it will be able to start providing fastcraft services in the second week of April because Anton’s Wharf is not ready yet.
During another stakeholders’ meeting yesterday, officials of the Cebu Port Authority (CPA) and other government agencies agreed to conduct an ocular inspection this morning to determine the viability of three docking areas for barges.
Cebu Coast Guard Station Commander Agapito Bibat said they will inspect Kasamahan wharf, Keppel Shipyard and the Naval Forces Central (Navforcen) at 9 a.m. today.
Bibat said two shipping companies, Lite Shipping and Gothong Shipping, have committed to field barges from Ouano wharf in Mandaue City to Lapu-Lapu City to transport goods and cargoes.
But as to which port in Lapu-Lapu City the barges will use will be determined after the ocular inspections, Bibat added.
The ocular inspection will be led by CPA General Manager Edmund Tan, Cebu Coast Guard, Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) and other stakeholders.
Maria Socorro Rallon, the executive assistant of Tan, said Tan may call for another meeting with the local government officials of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu cities, who failed to show up for the meeting yesterday.
Barge and fastcraft services are expected to ease traffic in the vicinities of the two bridges that link Cebu and Mactan islands when the first bridge is partially closed for major repairs starting April 2.
Vanessa Lua, general manager of Ocean Fast Ferries, said they will field Oceanjet 11 as soon as Anton’s Wharf is ready.
The Department of Public Works and Highways in Central Visayas (DPWH 7) has scheduled the start of repairs for April 2.
In a previous meeting, DPWH officials said the first bridge will be open during the day, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., but one lane will be closed from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily.
Only light vehicles from Lapu-Lapu City will be allowed to pass. Light vehicles and trucks from Mandaue City are advised to use the Marcelo Fernan Bridge.
The repairs, estimated to cost P129 million, will be undertaken by Jegma Construction and Development Corp., which is currently working on the sidewalks.
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