AIRLINE passengers headed to and departing from the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) were stuck in three-hour traffic from Cebu City to Lapu-Lapu City after roads were closed for yesterday’s Ironman 70.3 Philippines.
“My younger brother Johoanner experienced bumper-to-bumper traffic starting from Mabolo, Cebu City all the way up to Lapu-Lapu City,” said Christine Faye Endrina of Cordova town.
While they were aware of the sport event, Endrina said they didn’t expect traffic congestion that heavy.
She said her brother left Minglanilla town at 9 a.m and it was 12 noon when they reached an alternative road.
An airline company extended their processing schedule to 15 minutes to help passengers catch up.
Edwin Ermac of the Traffic Enforcement Agency of Mandaue (TEAM) said public announcements about road closures were made and that he was just thankful no road accidents occured along the race route.
The Marcelo Fernan bridge was partly closed, with two of its four lanes used for two-way vehicular traffic.
About 230 police personnel includinge 20 Philippine Air Force and Task Force Motorsiklo helped enforce security in the race route.
Some spectators crowded near the Fernan bridge caused some cyclists to fall after they tried to negotiate a sharp downhill curve, said Senior Supt. Rey Lyndon Lawas, Lapu-Lapu City police chief.
Some motorists who wanted to pass through the South Road Properties (SRP) made several U-turns, heading instead to the highway in P. del Rosario St since it was still closed for the Ironman participants.
First year marine engineering student Mark Cagas said he and several other students went to the SRP as early as 4 a.m to form a human barricade along the Ironman route.
Since the roads were blocked, Cagas stayed in the nearest mall until after 12 a.m before leaving for home in barangay Punta Engaño.
Ambulance driver Joy Baguio said about 20 persons stranded at the Fernan bridge hitched a ride for Cordova town.
Personnel of the Cebu City Integrated Traffic Operations Management (Citom) opened the roads and took off the metal railings at past 11 a.m.
Citom chairman Sylvan Jakosalem said traffic went well in Cebu City despite “minor lapses.”
Citom executive director Rafael Yap said an intensified public information campaign on traffic routes is needed if the event is held again in Cebu.
Despite the traffic inconvenience, Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza said the Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines in Cebu turned out well and thanked barangay and other local officials for ensuring the event’s success. /Norman V. Mendoza, Correspondent with Correspondents Tweeny M. Malinao and Jessa Marie Agua