Closed bridge causes two-hour traffic jam

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Friday, April 25, 2014

MOTORISTS and commuters ranted Thursday about the two-hour bumper-to-bumper traffic along McArthur Highway going to Bankerohan due to the ongoing repair of the Governor Generoso (Bankerohan) Bridge II.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said the traffic congestion was caused by the road closure for the repair of the bridge.

The traffic congestion started around 8 a.m. where vehicles, mostly public utility jeepneys (PUJs), from the south passed along the affected area.


Efren Veloso, a driver of a PUJ plying the Matina Aplaya-Agdao route, said authorities should reroute other jeepneys since most of the vehicles from the south pass through the McArthur Highway-Bankerohan road.

"Pareha ani karon kulgot gyud kay wala man sila gihatag nga agihanan para sa uban. Naa silay alternate route pero para ra man to sa private vehicles (There was no alternate route for PUJs. The alternate routes provided are only for the private vehicles)," Veloso said.

Another PUJ driver, Joel Imperial, said the traffic congestion will cut off their income for the day. He drives a PUJ plying the Ma-a-R. Magsaysay route.

"Lugi gyud mi ani labi na ako nga nag renta ra ko aning jeep. Grabe pud isa ka oras ka matanggong diri, kalas na gasolina (I only rented this jeepney. I've been stuck here for an hour already)," Imperial said.

Commuters also complained against the traffic congestion. Most of them, in fact, disembarked from the PUJs and preferred to just walk their way.

"Late nako. Ma late ko samot ani sa trabaho kung magpaabot pa ko (I'm already late)," a passenger who disembarked from the PUJ said.

Aside from the traffic congestion, the scorching heat of the sun also caused people to rant.

Engineer Alvin Cabueñas of the DPWH Davao Region said the need for the repair of the bridge is immediate since the bridge piers or the main posts holding the bridge up have already been weakened by the long use and constant battering from flood debris.

"It might collapse anytime," he said.

However, Traffic Management Center (TMC) head Superintendent Rodelio Poliquit said he submitted a proposal to the DPWH to temporarily close only one lane of the Bridge II.

"Nag suggest ko sa ila nga kung pwede ang dalan nga sirad-an namo ka yang lane lang kung asa dapit ang construction mismo (I suggested that we would only close the lane where the construction site is)," Poliquit said.

He said the two-lane road of the Bridge II was temporarily closed by the TMC from 6 a.m. Thursday.

However, Poliquit said he ordered to open the road again since the contractor of the DPWH has not yet started with the construction and the equipment were not yet placed on site.

"Gi-declare gyud nako nga abrehan usab kay alanagan naman isakrispisyo nato nang traffic diha, unya grabe kainit. Mo declare na pud ko nga pasirad-an siya pag ready na gyud ang contarcor sa DPWH (I declared it open again due to heavy traffic. I will only announce its temporary closure again once the contractor is ready)," he said.

The DPWH, through its project engineer Cabuenas, said they cannot commit whether or not they would agree on the proposal of Poliquit to close only one lane of the road.

"I cannot assure that. Ang equipment nga among gamiton kay ipatong sa Bankerohan Bridge. Dili ta kagarantiya sa safety tapos limited ang makita sa operator basig maka create pa ug aksidente (The equipment will be placed on the other lane of the road. We cannot sacrifice it since it might cause accidents and the safety of the motorists and passengers might be at risk)," Cabuenas said.

Cabuenas said he appeals to Dabawenyos to bear with the inconvenience caused by ongoing repair.

"Pag dili nato na atimanon karon, mas dako ang posibleng damage sa muabot pa nga panahon," he said.

Poliquit also said appealed to the public to take alternate routes while the bridge repair is ongoing. He advised motorists, especially for the private vehicles, to take alternate routes.

The DPWH said the rehabilitation will take five to six months.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on April 25, 2014.

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