The order came from the central office of the Department of Public Works and Highways in Central Visayas (DPWH-7).
Marie Nillana, DPWH-7 information officer, said the order was to to finish rehabilitation of the United Nations Avenue in two months instead of by February next year.
This was why the private contractor worked on two lanes of the four-lane avenue, which caused traffic congestion in the area last week, and to work on 24/7 schedule since last week.
Nillana apologized on behalf of DPWH 7 officials for not telling local government units about the change in work plan.
Severe traffic jams occured in both sides of the Marcelo Fernan bridge in Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu cities.
Nilllana said DPWH Central Office head Ador Canlas ordered the change of schedule citing the Calungsod activity which would bring thousands of visitors to Cebu.
“They perhaps forgot to notify others because the order came suddenly,” she said.
“We deeply apologize to the Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu governments who we failed to inform because our personnel were busy with their work,” she said.
The DPWH and the Mandaue City officials had earlier agreed to do concreting work on UN Avenue one lane at a time and to keep free the three other lanes to avoid disrupting traffic to and from Lapu-Lapu City.
But last week, the DPWH contractor worked on another lane even before the curing period for the first lane was done. This meant closing two lanes at some point of the avenue. The result more traffic jams in the area.
With prior notice, a new traffic scheme could have been made and lessened traffic by using the Batiller Street in barangay Umapad, said Edwin Ermac, chief of the Traffic Enforcement and Management (TEAM) of Mandaue City.
Ermac has since assigned 12 traffic enforcers in UN Avenue and more enforcers at the first Mandaue-Mactan Bridge.
Nillana said PB Obial construction, the contractor of DPWH-7 for the project, was working on the curing stage of the inner lane in the road going to Marcelo Fernan Bridge and at the same time removing the dilapidated asphalt on the other inner lane.
According to Nillana, the inner lane that is in the curing stage will be open and passable to vehicles on Sept. 27.
“We appeal to the motorists and the public to please bear with the situation, we need to sacrifice a bit..for a better one after this (construction),” Nillana said.
Workers heading to Mactan and those catching a flight in the Mactan Cebu International Airport are advised to set out three to four hours earlier to reach their destination on time. /Fe Marie Dumaboc and Norman Mendoza, Correspondents