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ROUGH CUTS| The ‘longest’ 17.33-km. highway

THERE is no fixed date yet for the opening of the 7.5 first segment of the Davao City Coastal Road spanning from Bago Aplaya to the shoreline end of Tulip Drive in Matina. That is according to the spokesman of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) XI former colleague in the media Dean Ortiz.

Ortiz said there are just minor works that have to be completed to make sure that when the road is open, it is really worth it. He further mentioned that the opening schedule also depends on the availability of the important personalities who will be invited to grace the opening ceremonies.

We thought we heard it on broadcast and read it in print that several times there were schedules announced for the opening of the coastal highway. Yet now, the agency (DPWH) seems to be reverting. Meaning the previously announced schedules of opening were forgotten as this time, there is not even a fixed date.

By the way, does the opening refer only to allowing entry of public transportation? Is not a portion of the segment to be opened already being used most by privately-owned vehicles? We are asking these questions because the two times that we had dinner with some friends and relatives in a newly opened seaside restaurant, we observed that many vehicles, including tricycles, were already using that stretch of the highway, some possibly coming from the Tulip end of the road. In fact, we had no problem entering the coastal road coming from Matina Aplaya. So, what is this opening that the DPWH spokesman is talking about? Is it just the formality?

But we have this fear also that once the road is formally opened to all kinds of vehicles, meanwhile that the second segment is still to be constructed, there is this possibility that all the more there will be much heavier traffic at both MacArthur Highway from Crosing Tulip drive up to Bankerohan Bridge. And there will also be more bedlam at Quimpo Blvd. since the vehicles coming from the south of the city will have no other route to take but Tulip Drive to MacArthur or the one from Tulip Crossing Quimpo and the Matina Aplaya road going to Quimpo Blvd. Ecoland terminal junction.

Moreover, vehicles coming from the downtown area wanting to escape the traffic from Crossing MacArthur highway-Quimpo Blvd to Bangkal will surely turn left at Tulip and into the Times Beach end of the Coastal road. In such a situation, there will be a shifting of locations of vehicular traffic congestion even as more traffic gridlock will ensue.

We are hoping that our traffic managers already anticipate these possible scenarios, and measures are already planned to ensure that these traffic conditions will be prevented.

Of course, we know that we have on top of the city’s traffic management office one man who seems to never sleep on his job. Yes. Retired Col. Dionisio Abude is always up and around to make sure that within the means available at his disposal, his team can at least reduce the hustles brought about by the convergence of so many vehicles in downtown Davao City. We hope the traffic guy has already foreseen the situation likely to occur when the first segment of the Davao Coastal Road is finally opened.

The completion of the entire project, though, is still a long way to go despite the DPWH assuring the entire length of the coastal road of 17.33 kilometers will be finished by 2028. The bridge alone connecting the Times Beach end of the highway to the second segment starting in Bucana is still scheduled to start construction in October this year. Considering the width of the mouth area of the Davao River that will be spanned by the bridge, we are dead certain that again the construction will take years to complete.

Well, the hope of an early finish of the seaside boulevard with a Davaoeno President of the country at the helm did not happen. Will it again let another six-year term of the current president expire without the coastal road completed?

From how things are going now, the non-completion of the multi-billion pesos project is very likely. And seemingly, it is happening to the Samal Island-Davao City Connector Bridge Project.


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