Cebu News

Due to bridge repairs : Economic glitches

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Cebu is expected to face economic glitches for the entire year, with the worsening traffic situation due to the overdue repairs of the Mandaue-Mactan Bridge. The repairs, which will start on Monday, are expected to last up to December this year.

Business leaders anticipate negative effects in productivity among employees, which is seen to bring pressure to businesses especially in terms of high cost of doing business and other direct effects to traffic flow.

 “It will of course worsen traffic and reduce productivity. You can also expect the Mactan-based businesses who rely on mainland businesses to suffer as people will avoid the commute,” said Cebu Business Club President Gordon Allan Joseph.

According to Joseph, while the bridge has to be repaired, Cebu also has to face the consequence.

“I would recommend that companies allow flex-time for employees who need to commute from Cebu, Mandaue and the other cities on the mainland,” said Joseph.

Likewise, Tourism will also suffer with the bridge repair as domestic and even foreign tourists may postpone or move their travel plans up until the bridge repair-induced traffic will be completed.

“Who will want to spend their vacation in traffic?” added Joseph, who is also a board member of the Metro Cebu Development Coordinating Board.

Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry past president Phillip Tan said that the repair has to be done, and Cebu will just have to bear with it.

“We just have to weather the inconvenience and cost of congestion,” Tan said.

Naturally, Tan said that whatever added cost in logistics and productivity will be passed on to consumers, hinting that there will be adjustments in consumer cost and services, although it is not an absolute effect.

Diversion road cleared

Meanwhile, the City Traffic Management Systems in Lapu-Lapu City has cleared the diversion road of Sitio Matumbo in Barangay Pusok, ahead of the start of bridge rehabilitation.

Vehicles on the roadside should be pulled out to give way to other vehicles, said CTMS overall supervisor Mario Napule.

“Amo gi-informan nga dili usa mag-parking didto. Amo sab giingnan daan ang mga delivery trucks nga sayuhon nila og deliver ug dili usa mag-standby,” said Napule, who personally went to the area together with other CTMS personnel.

The road in Sitio Matumbo is located near the entrance gate going to the Mactan-Cebu International Airport. The diversion road, situated behind the Lapu-Lapu City Hall, starts from Sitio New Sangi Road, Barangay Pajo, near the Mactan Benito Ebuen Air Base.

The Sitio New Sangi road is also being cleared by CTMS of parked vehicles.

Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza said the said road will help alleviate traffic congestion.

“Taas-taas gyud na nga dalan, but then, dili gyud sila maglisod og maayo kung moagi dinhi,” she said, referring to the access road.

The road is usually occupied by tricycles, motorcycles, taxis and delivery parked by drivers eating in nearby eateries, said Napule.

But now that one of the lanes in the first bridge will be closed, Napule said drivers and car-owners should park their vehicles somewhere else.

Mandaue solution

In Mandaue City the Traffic Enforcement Agency in Mandaue is bracing not just for the bridge repairs but also the A. Soriano-Plaridel streets repairs.

TEAM operations director Glenn Antigua yesterday urged the public to leave home earlier in going to their destinations to avoid heavy traffic.

“Kung padulong sa trabaho o eskwelahan, mosayo lang jud ta. Taas-taas na pud ang hangyo, karon mamugos na sila,” said Antigua in reference to the Department of Public Works and Highways-7.

These projects were supposed to have been started at the last quarter of last year but the city asked DPWH to hold it off after the Holiday break, the Sinulog and the International Eucharistic Congress. These events were expected to create bump-to-bumper traffic in the city’s roads even when all lanes are open, the more when a road repair or construction is underway.

Antigua said they can no longer suspend the implementation of these projects as these are also needed to address the perennial traffic woes.

He said the A. Soriano Street repairs started last night, and to prevent bottling in Plaridel Street, they opened SB Cabahug Street as a detour road for light vehicles, and M.C. Briones Street for big trucks which have no business in Plaridel Street. He said they have to provide alternate access roads so as not to further congest Plaridel Street, which is one of the most clogged streets in the city.

The First Bridge project, which is set to start on Monday, will also mean closing one of the bridge’s lane, he said.

The TEAM official said that with one lane closed, only vehicles going to Mactan will be allowed access, while those coming from this island will have to use the Marcelo Fernan Bridge.  Vehicles coming from Cansaga Bridge going to Cebu City and vice versa will be allowed to cross UN Avenue so as not to add the vehicle volume on this road, he said.

He also reported the experimental zipper lane near Pacific Mall is successful, and is seen to improve the traffic situation in UN Avenue.

He also said a towing truck and TEAM personnel are also on standby along UN Avenue to move conked-out vehicles or help if there is an accident.  — /BRP (FREEMAN)


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