Guardo to BRT contractor: Don’t do roadworks during Sinulog

A CEBU City councilor is urging the winning contractor of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project to implement roadworks only after next year’s Sinulog Festival to avoid traffic jams along Osmeña Blvd.

Councilor Jerry Guardo made the call just after he and fellow officials met with officials of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022, to introduce them to representatives of Hunan Road and Bridge (HNRB) Construction Company Ltd., a China-based firm that won the bid to implement the P17.3-billion first BRT alignment.

The first alignment, or Package 1, will cover the route from the Cebu South Bus Terminal on N. Bacalso Ave. going to the Provincial Capitol via Osmeña Blvd.

In a report provided by the City Public Information Office, Guardo said he is concerned that the road works on the project, which is expected to be implemented on Jan. 7, 2023, could affect some of the activities in line with the yearly feast of the Sto. Niño, particularly the religious and non-religious activities such as the Sinulog.

Guardo, who chairs the City Council’s committee on infrastructure and urban planning, said with the South Road Properties close to traffic during the Sinulog, motorists have no choice but to cross the main highway just to get to their destination.

“If SRP will close, vehicles will be re-routed diri sa N. Bacalso ug Jones Ave. That would create big impact to our traffic situation because of the citywide celebration,” Guardo said in a mix of Cebuano and English.

But Guardo clarified that while HNRB can initiate the initial logistical requirements needed for the project, there was no need to close some roads under Package 1.

He said that the contractor can schedule some days when they will start demolishing the center islands along Osmeña Blvd. as early as this month to minimize the effect of their roadworks at the area next month.

But Guardo said he is also waiting for the traffic plan to be provided by the contractor to the City.

Engr. Gerry Flores of HNRB said they are just waiting for DOTr to issue the notice to proceed before they can work on the project.

Flores said the formal groundbreaking ceremony will take place on Osmeña Blvd. on Jan. 7.

Flores assures that they will continue to coordinate with the City Government to ensure that their roadworks won’t hamper uptown traffic.

However, Flores said they are planning to close off the middle lane first for construction to ensure that traffic remains moving.

Paul Gotiong of the City Transportation Office said he plans to ask HNRB for a traffic assessment plan before it initiates roadworks.

Last month, the DOTr awarded the contract for the construction of the first BRT alignment to HNRB. (JKV, PR)