Del Mar lauds, flyover foes mixed on studyBy Doris C. Bongcac
Cebu Daily News
Mixed sentiments greeted the results of the traffic impact study done by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in relation to two proposed flyover projects in Cebu City.
Former congressman Raul del Mar said the study validated his position that the city needed flyover projects like that in General Maxilom and MJ Cuenco Avenues to address its traffic congestion.
Mayor Michael Rama voiced approval over a DPWH recommendation to build an underpass rather than a flyover along Gorordo Avenue near the Asilo de Milagrosa Church.
The scope of the DPWH traffic impact study included five intersections within and around the proposed flyover projects.
The Movement for a Liveable Cebu (MLC) said the DPWH study failed to address their concerns on the flyover projects.
“Their answers were evasive and never to the point. It was either a flyover or no flyover at all,” MLC convenor Rudy Alix said.
The elder del Mar said he’s confident the traffic impact study will ensure the implementation of the flyover projects.
“That (study) is already reason enough for them lift the moratorium on the flyover construction in the city,” he said.
’No more debate’
The former congressman represented his daughter, Rep. Rachel del Mar of Cebu City’s north district.
Del Mar said his daughter, who’s still out of the country following the Congress recess, doesn’t mind the underpass recommendation of DPWH.
He said either the flyover or underpass serves the same purpose of decongesting traffic.
“We no longer wanted to labor the issue. We just want it done soon to spare the residents of inconvenience from traffic congestion,” del Mar said.
A P600 million funding was already set aside for the two flyover projects in General Maxilom and near Asilo church.
Each project and widening of roads below it are estimated to cost P300 million.
But project implementation was temporarily set aside due to opposition from Rama, the Asilo de Milagrosa Church and the Movement for a Liveable Cebu (MLC) consisting of urban development experts and businessmen.
Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson ordered a moratorium of the two projects pending the conduct of a feasibility study.
Del Mar, Rep. Tomas Osmeña of Cebu City’s south district and Rafael Yap, chief of the Cebu City Integrated Traffic Operations Management (Citom) attended the presentation of the DPWH feasibiility study last Tuesday afternoon.
The former congressman said the three existing flyovers in the north district underwent consultation but its implementation was not opposed.
But del Mar said the flyover near the Asilo Church caused fears that it may damage the structure.
He said building an underpass is more costly, due to diggings and other ground works to ensure that the utility lines are unaffected.
Del Mar said lighting and a standby water pump is needed to avoid flooding there.
“But I guess funding will not be a problem because the DPWH recommended it. They should take care of the additional expense,” he said.
Del Mar said he and Cutie were also prepared to help DPWH source additional funds.
The elder del Mar said he will also attend the next Cebu City Development Council (CCDC) meeting to seek reconsideration of their rejection of two new flyover projects being proposed in the north district.
One will be located along Juan Luna and M. J. Cuenco avenues near the Mabolo church while the second one will be along Cardinal Rosales and F. Cabahug street near the Seminario Mayor de San Carlos.
He said they were not even given an opportunity to defend the two flyover projects before the CCDC.
An invitation to the council meeting was sent to Cutie a day before the event.
But Alix said the MLC’s stand on the M.J. Cuenco avenue flyover is to have a six- month observation period of the traffic after road widening.
With widened roads, traffic will have to be assessed if a flyover is still needed, he said.
In his letter, Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson said the proposed Gen. Maxilom Ave.-M.J. Cuenco Ave flyover “can be implemented subject to initial widening of the road.”
He said this will maintain a two lane road on both sides of the flyover structure.
Singson also said the Gorordo flyover “is no longer feasible” and “a proposed underpass structure will be considered.
Singson said these recommendations were endorsed to President Aquino.
He said alternate solutions like an underpass for both left turn and F. Sotto Drive through traffic from Archbishop Reyes should be pursued following a road widening.
For his part, Rama said he intends to tap the help of private engineers and urban planners in the MLC on their assessment of the DPWH study.
He said the agency lacks the credibility to do an unbiased feasibility study.
Out of the question
Rama said the agency is under pressure by some politicians who wanted the flyover projects done.
Even if he was invited to the presentation of the DPWH feasibility study, Rama said he wouldn’t have attended anyway.
“I don’t want to be there because I don’t like their system,” he said.
Rama said he remains steadfast in his stand that the city needed road widening instead of flyover projects.
“With road widening, one may only need traffic lights instead,” Rama said.
Still, he said he’s happy that a flyover is already out of the question near the Asilo church. “An underpass is much better than a flyover,” he said.
He said having a flyover in a commercial area will also kill businesses there.
Rama said having an underpass in the area will already address aesthetic concerns of those living there. With Correspondents Edison delos Angeles and Jessa Chrisna Marie J. Agua