The daily heavy-traffic bottleneck in Ulas-Bangkal areas may last for three weeks as the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is repairing the damaged alternate bailey bridge along Bailey Road.
“Two to three weeks,” DPWH information officer Dean Ortiz told TIMES when asked on the length needed to repair the bailey bridge.
Residents from both ends of the city have complained for the last five days on the heavy traffic in the area during the extended rush hours.
Floods damaged the metal bailey bridge along Bailey Road that connects Taal Road in Royal Valley Subdivision in Bangkal to Ortiz Street in Ulas last Friday, prompting the infrastructure agency to repair the structure. The Bailey Road and the bridge were constructed as alternate route following the closure of Talomo Bridge II that is still undergoing renovation.
Both Bangkal and Ulas are puroks of Barangay Talomo Proper, Talomo District.
Online, residents report travel times of up to two hours from residential areas to downtown and back, instead of the normal average of around 40 minutes to an hour.
Pending the completion of the Talomo Bridge rehabilitation, vehicles pass through a total of four lanes – three lanes northbound passing the Talomo Bridge I and a single bailey bridge lane southbound – to cross Ulas from Bangkal or vice versa.
With the almost nightly heavy rains and succeeding floods, the traffic around the area has been terrible despite the Bypass Road from Bangkal going to Barangay Catalunan Pequeno or vice versa is still passable.
In an interview yesterday, City Transport and Traffic Management Office (CTTMO) chief Dionisio Abude suggested private vehicles to avoid the main routes altogether.
Abude admitted the loss of the Bailey Road artery, which considerably reduced northbound traffic around the Talomo-Bangkal area, has a huge effect on traffic.
Last week, heavy rains inundating the Talomo River crashed through the demolished portion of the Talomo Bridge II.
The Talomo Bridge I and the one-lane bailey bridge at its side were not damaged. But the bailey bridge at Bailey Road was damaged.
This causes traffic to standstill at the Ulas-Bangkal portions of the MacArthur Highway and at the Diversion Road.
The gridlock brought about by the Talomo bridges was hardly a surprise, as a similar traffic congestion happened in June last year when the traffic agency and the DPWH conducted a dry run of the Talomo Bridge II closure.
During that dry run, the city advised motorists, especially private vehicles, to take the following alternate routes:
To and from Calinan:
Barangay Talomo River-Magtuod Tugbok Road-Barangay Maa, while vehicles from Tugbok may pass Barangay Giao Guianga, Magtuod-Tugbok towards the Diversion Road and Maa
To and from Mintal:
Elenita Heights (Uraya), Catalunan Grande, Diversion Road/Matina
To and from Buhangin-Diversion:
Magtuod-Tugbok via Biao Escuela towards Tugbok or Biao Joaquin towards Calinan.