DELAYED ROAD PROJECT. Governor Gwendolyn Garcia meets with the officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH-7) headed by its regional director Ernesto Gregorio Jr. in this November 2022 photo. Following Garcia's threat to press charges against DPWH-7 officials, Regional Development Council (RDC-7) co-chair Kenneth Cobonpue on Monday (Dec. 19, 2022) urged the DPWH to intervene on the road project along the junction of United Nations Ave. in Mandaue City, Cebu which has been delayed for three years already. (Photo courtesy of Cebu Capitol PIO)

CEBU CITY – The Regional Development Council in Central Visayas (RDC-7) wants the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to look into the road project halted three years ago that left an intersection leading to the 2nd Mactan-Mandaue bridge in a dilapidated condition.

Kenneth Cobonpue, RDC-7 co-chair, said the poor condition of the United Nations Avenue-Plaridel Street junction has been badly affecting the traffic flow leading to the bridge going to Mactan-Cebu International Airport four years since the DPWH stopped the project.

“By January, we are expecting an increase in the volume of tourist arrivals now that we are fully opening the tourism economy in Cebu. That junction is very critical as it leads to the Marcelo Fernan Bridge and to the airport,” Cobonpue told the Philippine News Agency.

Cobonpue said a tri-layer project – an underpass, flyover, and road-level passage – was supposed to be constructed in the area but was canceled by the DPWH-7 in 2019 due to some issues involving the winning bidder.

He said other projects such as a roundabout (rotunda) or flyover were proposed to be constructed in the area in lieu of a tri-level but the legal battle between the DPWH-7 and the Leyte-based contractor, BM Marketing, after the government canceled the contract due to alleged submission of a fake document as proof of track record.

However, the DPWH-7 officials, through its planning officer, Engineer Nonato Paylado said the project was deferred to put a prime on some big-ticket priority projects of the previous administration.

“The project needs immediate intervention by DPWH Secretary Manuel Bonoan. The dilapidated state of the U.N. Avenue junction does not only cause slower traffic flow in the area but also an eyesore to visitors,” Cobonpue said.

His statement came after Governor Gwendolyn Garcia on Thursday last week threatened to sue DPWH-7 officials over the unfinished road project, citing the traffic jams it created in the area.

The governor asked the Provincial Board to authorize her to file the charges against the officials as well as to declare them persona non grata.

She also announced that the memorandum of agreement between the Capitol and the DPWH-7 for the provincial government to do the asphalting as a temporary measure at the U.N. Ave. junction will no longer be implemented.

DPWH-7 information officer Joyce Verzales said the office of the Regional Director Ernesto Gregorio Jr. is yet to release a statement on the issue. (PNA)