Ferry boats. Shuttle buses. Truck ban scheduling. 24/7 work shifts. These were just some of the proposals to help alleviate the traffic situation due to repairs and rehabilitation of the old Mandaue-Mactan Bridge.
Governor Hilario P. Davide III called for a meeting with stakeholders and authorities at the quarterly meeting of the Mactan-Cebu Bridge Management Board (MCBMB) to tackle technical issues on how to expedite the repair and more importantly finding proactive ways to ease the traffic flow.
While the stakeholders agreed that the 44-year old bridge needs repairs, business and tourism are likely to suffer the negative effects of the traffic situation.
Mayor Radaza suggested that work be done 24/7 on three shifts to complete the repairs in more or less 100 days.
According to DPWH Planning and Design Chief Engr. Nonato Paylado, the project timeline of the repair will take 320 days or about 10 months working in a one-shift, 8-hour work period.
The DPWH stressed that there was a series of meetings and assessments as well as coordination between Lapulapu and Mandaue, before the implementation of the project.
“We are open for adjustments and we need the support of all the sectors in coming up with the most favorable traffic scheme that would give a minimum effect to the public,” Paylado said.
DPWH is temporarily re-opening the bridge to two-way traffic until the issue on the support for Metropolitan Cebu Water District ‘s (MCWD) pipelinesis settled.
According to Engr. Paylado, MCWD’s work generally involves additional support to the pipelines and restores the areas with exposed steel bars under the bridge.
MCWD’s 16-inch pipeline carries 12,000 cubic meters of water daily to about fifty percent of the households and commercial establishments in Mactan Island.
MCWD proposed the use of steel dipped in hot galvanized iron to replace pipeline support, which contactor JEGMA Construction and Development Corp. (contractor of the bridge repair and rehabilitation) have agreed.
Roger Lim, general manager of East Asia Utilities, the sole power provider to the Mactan Export Zone (MEPZ) said their 69 kV lines also run across the bridge.
Lim is concerned of the possibility of a reduced voltage and the workers who may not be able to handle the 69kV lines properly.
The Mactan-Cebu International Airport might experience more challenges with the bridge repair and rehabilitation.
The number of people travelling between Mactan and Cebu to and from the airport is expected to increase this year.
By the end of March 2016, four new routes will be launched and this brings in additional 2,200 regular passengers plus 2,200 diplomatic passengers per day.
“I would like go into the option, when the traffic analysis is made available, we can do the study, we can fund an expert through your guidance, and so we can understand the consequence because the measure of closing of one lane is really quite detrimental,” Chief Executive Advisor Andrew Harrison GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. said.
Another proposal is to reduce the number of vehicles going to and from the airport using a shuttle bus from mainland Cebu.
Shipping companies have also coordinated with the Cebu Port Authority for ferry services. A dry run will be conducted sometime this week at Cebu Yacht Club in Lapu-Lapu City. This will be the docking station of the shuttle vessels from Pier 1 to 3 in Cebu City.
“The vessels are now being prepared and they are now working on some papers with MARINA (Maritime Industry Authority), says CPA General Manager Edmund Tan.
The Philippine Navy also has offered its vessels to help ferry passengers.