by Doris C. Bongcac, Chief of Reporters
Here’s a glimpse of the landscape that will change in south Cebu.
S. Osmeña Road near Cebu city’s port area will be expanded to an eight-lane road to provide a wider service route to the pier and farther on to southern parts of the province.
With a P150-million appropriation ready in the 2012 national budget, the road widening project will be bidded out before the year ends, said Rep. Tomas Osmeña of Cebu City’s south district.
As a national road, the projects will be undertaken by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
Plans also call for two center road tunnels to be built along the entire stretch of S. Osmeña Road from the Mahiga Creek near the Cebu Ports Authority (CPA) building and connect to the South Coastal Road tunnel near Plaza Independencia but separate funding for this still has to be identified.
The tunnels will occupy two middle lanes of the planned eight-lane S. Osmeña Road, while the three outer lanes will be used as a freeway, Osmeña told Cebu Daily News.
“The purpose of having the tunnel is to have non-stop traffic where vehicles don’t have to stop when you reach the intersections,” said Osmeña who is vice chairman of the House committee on appropriations.
As proposed, the first road tunnel will be built at the intersection of S. Osmeña Road and Juan Luna Street near Radisson Blu Hotel. The second tunnel will rise in in a portion of S. Osmeña Road near pier 4.
With the P150-million road widening fund, contractors will have to demolish center islands and other road barriers to open the port access road and make it part of the existing four-lane S. Osmeña Road.
“The detailed engineering for the road project is already complete and bidding is expected to follow soon,” said the congressman.
“This is part of a bigger program and will complete road widening projects in the south.”
Last month, Osmeña surprised 1st district Rep. Eduardo Gullas by offering to have P400 million in DPWH infrastructure funds for Cebu city’s south district realigned in favor of the Carcar-Sibonga road expansion in south Cebu, which Gullas was struggling to finance.
About P1.25 billion is needed for the South Road expansion, of which Gullas said he only had P250 million available from his pork barrel. Gullas publicly expressed his gratitude to Osmeña for the unexepcted gesture, which also angered Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, who said depriving Cebu City of projects was an act of “treason”.
S. Osmeña Road connects to the South Coastal Road that links Cebu City and Talisay City, where a 300-hectare reclamation project was undertaken during Osmeña’s term as Cebu City mayor, now named the South Road Properties.
Linking the roads farther south would make travel to the outlying towns of Cebu’s 1st district faster and more accessible.
“‘I’ve seen what the South Coastal Road (in the SRP) has done. Grabe ang development sa Talisay area. The expansion of the Naga-Carcar road road will bring massive development to the south,” Osmeña was quoted as saying earlier about his unexpected realignment of the P400 milllion budget.
Yesterday he said road improvement would later expand northward to Mandaue City where bypasses like those found in Edsa may also be built in the future.