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RDC body asks for moratorium on flyovers

Comprehensive transport plan needed, says technical working group

CEBU, Philippines - A Technical Working Group (TWG) created by the Regional Development Council (RDC) -7 has recommended to request the public works department to reconsider its previous approval of the construction of flyovers in Metro Cebu and to impose a moratorium until a comprehensive transport and land use plan is completed.

It has also recommended that Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) should conduct serious consultations with concerned local government units, National Government agencies and stakeholders - from conceptualization to design so projects could be carried out expeditiously and with less public opposition.

The TWG was created under the Infrastructure Development Committee (IDC) of RDC-7 to review the flyovers in the context of various transport studies and master plans for Metro Cebu previously conducted.

Based on the review of these studies, the TWG was tasked to submit its recommendations to the IDC.

The IDC headed by Emmanuel Rabacal met yesterday but reportedly deferred the approval of the recommendations of the TWG. The committee is expected to render a report during the RDC full council meeting next month.

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“I heard nga gi-defer nila ang approval. Bahala na basta we did our job. This also shows that the objection to the flyover is not politically motivated and is not only by those individuals and businessmen who will be directly affected because none of the TWG members are political or have businesses or residences in those areas. They are all qualified persons,” said Sylvan “Jack” Jakosalem, chairman of the Cebu City Traffic Operations and Management and is the TWG’s co-chairperson.

The TWG is composed of IDC-private sector representatives Valeriano Avila, Jose Mari Birgornia and Fr. Margarito Alingasa; IDC member and Land Transportation Office-7 Regional Director Rauil Aguilos; Jakosalem; technical experts Lynn Gloria Madrona (transportation engineer and faculty member of the USJ-R College of Engineering) and Omar Maxwell Espina (architect/urban planner and former dean of the USC College of Architecture and Fine Arts; Lapu-lapu City representative Perla Amar; and Mandaue City representative Florentino Nimor.

Some of their findings were: flyovers were not among the recommended traffic solutions in previous transportation studies but the opening of new/by-pass roads; the widening of existing roads; traffic management and promotion of mass transport system.

Traffic counts at the concerned intersections was the only traffic parameter used and did not reflect the effects these proposed flyovers would have on the wider network of roads and intersections, it added.

Due to lack of alternative solutions considered by the proponent, the TWG also found it difficult for anybody to objectively assess whether the proposed flyovers are the solution to the traffic problems in the particular intersections.

Infrastructure projects, especially flyovers, are generally identified with the sponsors rather than as part of an overall transportation development strategy.

Other findings include the absence of road hierarchy recognized by DPWH; transportation projects are not determined in conjunction with land use studies; lack of coordination among concerned government agencies in the identification of traffic congestion solutions; social dimension of flyover projects were not considered; and that road-right-of-way acquisition issues determined the flyover design.

The construction of a flyover at the junction of M.J. Cuenco Avenue and Gen. Maxilom Avenue amounting to P480 million and another one at junction Gorordo Avenue and Archbishop Reyes Avenue amounting to P220 million were included in RDC-endorsed projects of DPWH since 2005.

When these flyover projects were endorsed by the RDC since 2005 until June 24, 2011, no issue was raised against them because “no public consultations were done prior or immediately subsequent to their approval.”

When the projects were publicly revealed recently and already for implementation, issues have been raised for and against these, prompting the RDC to review the project through the TWG. — /JPM (FREEMAN)

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