Cebu gets 3rd bridge; and a 4th bridge?
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) - July 10, 2018 - 12:00am

June last month was a red letter day for Cebu as no less than Pres. Rodrigo Duterte and his Cabinet swooped down to the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) for the formal blessing of the Terminal 2 done by the GMR-Megawide Group and everyone was awed at what GMR-Megawide had done for the International Terminal 2 for MCIA, which proudly belongs to the major international airports at least in the Southeast Asian (ASEAN) nations. On July 1st, Terminal 2 finally opened for international operations making Cebuanos very proud that we have the best airport at least in the country.

Then last Thursday, July 5, Cebuanos again played witness to the coming of the future of Metro Cebu when the Cebu Cordova Link Expressway Corp. (CCLEx) started its official construction date. As I interviewed Allan Alfon for my TV show, he told me that the funding for the construction of the CCLEx had already been secured through a combination of equity and debt. MPIC, CCLEC’s parent firm, noted CCLEx’s project cost is P26.3 billion. MPIC’s tollways arm Metro Pacific Tollways Corp (MPTC) plans to spend approximately P122.8 billion in the next five years to build highways and toll roads around the Philippines, including the 8.3-kilometer Cebu-Cordova toll bridge. No less than president Manny V. Pangilinan was in Cebu to attend the blessing of this project.

The CCLEx bridge brings the municipality of Cordova so close to Cebu City that on a good drive, it would take less than ten minutes to reach Cordova from downtown Cebu City. I have taken this route when there was no traffic and it still took me that long – an hour and 15 minutes. This is one major infrastructure project creates a new promise for the town of Cordova as Cebu’s newest investment destination. So the municipality of Cordova has three years while the CCLEx is under construction to widen all their main roads to prepare their town for the coming of new economic investments.

Meanwhile, CCLEx head Allan Alfon has not yet told me where the link from the CCLEx to the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) would be passing by, but for sure it needs a flyover to cross from M.V. Patalingjug Ave. to go to the airport quickly. Three years from now when the CCLEx is ready in use, you can predict that this would certainly help in reducing the bad traffic that is an everyday occurrence in Mandaue, especially for people going either to the MCIA or to the resort destinations in Mactan.

Incidentally, now that construction work for the CCLEx or third bridge has officially begun, out of the blue a fourth bridge linking the two islands was suddenly revealed to us by Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar last week who said that officials of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) are now finalizing the feasibility study and the engineering design of the fourth bridge. Sec. Villar said, “We are hoping we can finish the feasibility and engineering design by this year para next year makapagsimula na.” The DPWH Secretary was in Cebu during the launching of the construction of the CCLEx.

I understand that the preliminary study on the fourth bridge revealed that it would start from Mandaue Coastal Road to Quezon National Highway in Lapu-Lapu City. Now when this study would be finished we have no idea yet. But at least DPWH is thinking about a 4th bridge. When we finished the Marcelo Fernan Bridge DPWH decided that Cebu didn’t need any more bridges and in 10 years the traffic turned from bad to horrible. So a 4th bridge is a very welcome project.

Another major road project for Cebu that Sec. Villar mentioned is the proposed 74-kilometer Metro Cebu Expressway project that the DPWH proposes to commence construction this year. It is a P26-billion road project from Naga City in the south to Danao City in the north. These are areas in Cebu today that often turn into a carmageddon of sorts and motorists just hate it. Where this 74-kilometer road would pass is still a sort of state secret because DPWH has not issued any statement yet on this project. But if Sec. Villar says that this project would start this year, we would welcome it, especially at this time when many of the Build, Build, Build projects by DPWH have been much delayed.

At this point, DPWH Regional Director Ador Canlas only told me that next year they would finally start to work on my proposed “Parallel Road to Escario St.” This project no doubt solves one of the most traffic-prone areas in Cebu City. I have studied this project myself and lately took drone videos of that area and this road not only solves the traffic congestion along Escario St. it also helps ease traffic in many areas south of Cebu City. So will this really happen next year? I merely crossed my fingers!

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