CEBU, Philippines – At least 100 trees along Natalio Bacalso Avenue in Cebu City will be moved or cut with the looming construction of the P638-million underpass.
Roy Dela Cruz, project engineer of the Department of Public Works and Highways, said these trees are also the ones identified to be affected in the implementation of the P10.6-billion Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project.
“As early as now, bisag wala pa nahuman ang underpass, nag-anticipate nami nga naay road widening. With the road widening, yes, it’s true nga naay 100 trees nga affected,” he told The FREEMAN.
He said that once the underpass is completed, the side roads will have only one lane each.
This is the reason why the roads on both sides of the underpass will have to be widened by up to six meters.
“The road widening is separate project sa aning underpass but gihatagan og importance because that will improve the traffic scheme. Maghuwat pa mi sa permit nga ihatag sa DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) if unsay buhaton sa trees, i-cut ba or earthball,” he said.
The city’s transportation office and DPWH will hold a second traffic dry run next week before construction of the underpass begins.
To recall, the second traffic dry run last week was cancelled because of the condition of the diversion routes and the issue on lack of consultation.
CCTO head Francisco Ouano said he was told by the management of WT Construction Incorporated, the contractor of the underpass project along the intersection of N. Bacalso Avenue and F. Llamas Street, will fix the diversion routes in Tagunol and Ganciang Streets within the week.
“Once moingon sila nga ok na, atong i-survey ang area. Then we will schedule the second traffic dry run next week,” he said.
The 700-meter underpass will have a two-way, two-lane depressed structure at the intersection of N. Bacalso Avenue and F. Llamas Street. The contractor is expected to start its construction this month and is expected to finish in 18 months.
Sought for comment, Cebu City Environment and Natural Resources (CCENRO) chief Nida Cabrera said DENR-CENRO has already told her the latter is processing two applications for the earthballing or cutting of trees along the N. Bacalso Avenue.
The 100 trees identified by DPWH are also among of the 2,182 trees affected in the implementation of BRT project.
Cabrera said the BRT Project Implementation Unit is still finalizing the schedule of consultation with the 21 barangays affected in the earthballing and cutting of trees.
“Supposedly, last week na unta nag-start sa consultation but wala nadayon because of the arrival of some personnel nga taga World Bank. They are updating sa status sa project,” she said.
While waiting for the schedule, she asked permission from the DENR-CENRO to allow them to conduct a time and motion study involving two trees along N. Bacalso Avenue.
“A time and motion study shall aid us in measuring the needed time to undertake the process of earth-balling the trees along the BRT route and how the process impacts on traffic and other conditions within the route,” she said in her June 13-letter.
Cabrera said the two trees that will be used as samples will have different dimensions –less than 30 meters but above 15 centimeters and the other tree will have a diameter of 15 centimeters and below.
She said she will also inform civil society organizations and environmentalists of CCENRO’s plan to conduct the time and motion study. (FREEMAN)