Needed! A new Lahug-Talamban road

OFF TANGENT - Aven Piramide - The Freeman

The year 1993 was more than one generation ago. 1993 was the year when Cebu City widened and opened up new roads. As I recall, the few infrastructure projects were initiated by then Gov. Eduardo Gullas in the ‘80s yet, but owing to bureaucratic red tapes, it took years to germinate such that they were implemented only in the administration of then Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña. The Imus Street for example, was just a narrow two-lane road from the corner of D. Jakosalem to Sikatuna streets or a distance of about 70 meters. Imus was then widened and a new four-lane road was opened from that Sikatuna Street end to the Mango Avenue (now Gen. Maxilom Avenue). In the south district of the city, V. Rama Avenue was widened from somewhere at M Velez Street all the way down to Natalio Bacalso Avenue. After these and few other projects were completed, we have not seen any road building efforts anymore.

Subsequent to 1993, no more roads were widened or built. Yet, the number of vehicles running on our streets reportedly more than quadrupled. The volume of vehicular traffic has spiraled upwards that we now experience daily traffic jams. My place in Barangay Kasambagan, for instance, is just about 800 meters from the former Club Filipino, presently the Ayala Cebu Business Park. In the past, we drove thru this distance in three minutes, more or less. Almost everyday in the present times, it will take us about 40 minutes to travel the same short span of a street. Why? Because this stretch has become a main link between the cities of Cebu and Mandaue and many travellers even from the Talamban area choose Kabangkalan and Hernan Cortes to pass this way.

The monumental failure of the government to open up new roads in the last three decades and the exponential increase in the number of vehicles that congest the streets are, among other major factors, causing our traffic gridlocks. I am not an expert on urban planning but ordinary people like me, do not need knowledge on rocket science to understand that this problem is a serious economic drag as it makes fund portfolio holders from pouring huge investments. So, time and again, I have written in this column this observation in the hope that our leaders wake up from deep slumber. At the pain of sounding redundant, I like to stress the point to His Honor, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama that he should address the city’s ever worsening traffic situation if he hopes to achieve his Singapore-like dream.

One specific item. Not all of us realize that the distance between Barangays Lahug and Talamban is about six kilometers only. The combined population of Barangays Lahug, Apas, Banilad and Talamban is about 125,000. Yet, there is only one road, the Gov. Cuenco Avenue, that links these barangays. This highway also serves people from Barangays San Jose, Bacayan, Pit-os and eight other mountain barangays. Easily there are also about 20 residential subdivisions in this part of the metropolis many of whose residents own cars. The humongous volume of road users should explain why the six-kilometer trip from Talamban to Lahug, at present, takes not less than one and a half hours during peak time.

 In my opinion, Mayor Rama and the City Council headed by Vice Mayor Raymond Garcia should make constructing a new Lahug to Talamban their number one priority. Such project augurs well to Singapore-like.

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