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N. Bacalso underpass construction: Phase 1 to begin on Monday

CEBU, Philippines — Construction of phase 1 of the underpass at corner N. Bacalso Avenue and F. Llamas Street, Cebu City has been moved to Monday.

Commuters and motorists are warned of heavy traffic in that area even now as the contractor of the P638-million underpass project will start the piling of works for phase 1.

To recall, the Department of Public Works and Highways modified the construction plan so they could begin the underpass project at the intersection last August as phase 1 involved affected pipelines that needed to be addressed by the Metropolitan Cebu Water District.

Phase 2, which involved works in front of a fastfood chain in the area, has already been completed by the contractor of the project, WT Construction Inc.

During a meeting yesterday morning in the office of Councilor David Tumulak, chairman on public order and safety, the Cebu City Transportation Office, the Department of Public Works and Highways, and the city government also mulled holding a traffic dry run today, but later cancelled the plans.

Meanwhile, passengers and jeepney drivers now feel inconvenienced by the underpass project.

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Landie Cuizon, who has worked as a pedicab driver for 13 years, complained about the slow flow of traffic as he was not able to get enough passengers for the day.

“Traffic kaayo, samok kaayo. Among income nikunhod tungod aning trabahoa. Daghan na- apektuhan ani,” Cuizon said.

Cuizon said he is aware of the benefits the underpass will provide for vehicular traffic, but he said the amount of time it will take for the construction to be finished will also cost him his income.

Pamela Hermoso, a commuter, also had negative sentiments about the traffic as she waited for a ride.

“Pwerting trapika. Makaapekto g’yud ‘tawn ang traffic. Dugay man kaayo mi kasakay,” she said.

Ouano said eight traffic enforcers were deployed today, and 14 will be deployed on Monday to help ease the traffic.

Initially, it was planned that only the outermost northbound lane will be open in the area today and the other three lanes will be closed, but the plan was changed after Ouano met with heads of the project today and decided that it would put commuters and motorists at risk.

On Monday, they will check the situation again in the area and assess if it is possible to open only one lane.

The southbound lane will be totally closed at 6 a.m. on Monday to give way to construction, Ouano said.

Ouano said that there have been a lot of complaints about the traffic situation for the underpass project, which will take approximately 18 months to be fully constructed.

“Daghan kaayo ang nagreklamo lagi anhang dapita kay traffic lagi. Pero mao gani na, traffic g’yud. Eventually, after ani nga project, kitang tanan maka-benefit g’yud,” he said.

“Ang ato lang pud gihangyo sa atong mga [nagbiyahe], kung wa g’yud sila’y tuyo ug tumong anhang dapita, di lang sila muagi g’yud unta,” he added.

Traffic enforcer Marlon Enriquez said the traffic usually starts at 7 a.m. when a lot of students and employees from the south head to the city. Traffic then subsides at noon them resume at 2 p.m. until 8 p.m. when people head back south.

He said that the best option for transportation in the area is a motorcycle-for-hire, but those who cannot afford have to choice but the jeepney.

“Luoy kaayo ang mga pasahero kay ang uban nga wala’y kwarta mag-antos ra g’yud, mag-jeep sila. Ang dunay kwarta, mao nang maghabal-habal. Kay mas dali man ang habal-habal kay maglusot-lusot bisa’g asa.”

He also said that passengers should leave for work or school early to avoid traffic congestion.

Debbie Cabalquinto, a restaurant employee at a mall in the South Road Properties, opted for a motorcycle-for-hire heading to work since a jeepney would only be delayed by traffic.

“Hasol kaayo sa trabaho,” Cabalquinto complained. (FREEMAN)

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