Cebu News

Rama wants road work finished fast

Jean Marvette A. Demecillo, JMO - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - With only a week before the Asia- Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama ordered to fast track the removal of portions of the center island at Pope John Paul II Avenue in Barangay Mabolo.

This will involve earth-balling of at least 11 trees from the portions of the center island that will be removed.

Rama wants efforts hastened after he learned that the traffic management groups that conducted the dry run for the APEC last August 13 noted slow movement of vehicle traffic at Pope John Paul II Avenue.

“Now they can see it (traffic congestion in the area), but the mayor already seen it long time ago… That’s why we have to move faster,” he said.

Last Wednesday, Cebu City Transportation Office, Mandaue City’s Traffic Enforcement Agency of Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu City’s City Traffic Management System, and personnel of Land Transportation Office conducted the traffic dry run along the APEC route.

The seven-car and five-motorcycle convoy traversed the APEC route; from Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa in Lapu-Lapu City to the new bridge, to Plaridel Street, to Ouano Avenue, to SergingOsmeña Boulevard, to Pope John Paul II Avenue, to Salinas Drive, and to Marco Polo Plaza Hotel.

From Lapu-Lapu City to Cebu City, it took 31 minutes for the convoy to traverse the APEC route at an average speed of 40 to 60 kilometers per hour. The movement slowed, however, when the convoy passed Plaridel Street in Mandaue City and Pope John Paul II Avenue in Cebu City.

From Cebu City to Lapu-Lapu City, the convoy took only 23 minutes travel time at an average speed of 60 to 70 kilometers per hour.

Rama said the city government should be “as quick as possible” in addressing the Cebu City’s concern.

“So, unsa ilang recommendation? Follow the recommendation of Mayor Rama because kanang area-ha (Pope John Paul II Avenue) diha, flare ra na. paghuman, selective nga removal of dividers and there will be left. We will only be addressing 11 (trees). That’s it,” he said.

Rama wants to remove portions of the center island specifically those from the corner of Archbishop Reyes Avenue to Cardinal Rosales Avenue.

When asked if it will be finished before APEC, Rama said it will be possible for as long as everyone will help out.

He said that the APEC delegates will stay until October.

Rama wants the work to be undertaken in the evening so as not to hamper the traffic flow during peak hours.

In a separate interview, CCTO Executive Director Rey Gealon said his office and other city government offices have been in coordination with Movement for Livable Cebu.

“We have decided to transfer the 11 trees that will be affected by the removal of the center island to either the gaps between trees in the other unaffected center island or the sidewalk. The trees are assured to be earth-balled & merely transferred, not cut,” he said.

Gealon said the environmentalists are not opposing the move.

“MLC have no opposition to the move, as they are assured that the trees affected will be saved and will just be transferred in the area nearby. The conference with the convenors of the MLC inspired me as they utilize their personal resources: energy, time, money, among many others, for the betterment of cebu, without even asking for anything in return,” he said.

He said the city’s Parks and Playgrounds Commission is processing the permits to earth-ball the trees.

“We will, of course, secure permits. On Monday, mag-meeting na pod ta with MLC, OBO (Office of the Building Official), PROBE (Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification, and Enhancement), Parks and Playgrounds, among others. Kana nga meeting, we will be giving updates, like where are we now in the processing of permits,” he said.

As far as the road flaring is concerned, Gealon said: “It can’t be done yet. It needs a lot of work. There is already the design. One thing is for sure, it will be before IEC (International Eucharistic Congress) next year.”  (FREEMAN)

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