By Manly M. Ugalde
LEGAZPI CITY --- The much vaunted road widening project of the Department of Public Works and Highways has been giving headache to motorists plying the Maharlika highway in Albay hampering the delivery of goods and conveyance of passengers taking the Manila-Visayas- Mindanao route via the roll-on roll-off transport mode in Matnog, Sorsogon.
Former Legazpi Vice Mayor Luis Adornado complained that going to Ligao City which
normally took a 40 minute ride from Legazpi City now takes three hours to cruise the 3-km Banag-Busay route in Daraga town because of the ongoing road widening in that section of the highway.
3rd District Albay Rep. Fernando Gonzalez said what make the matter worse are the stranded heavy cargo trucks that lay idle along highway connecting the 2nd and 3rd congressional districts of the province because these large vehicles bound for Visayas and Mindanao for unknown reason do not immediately get accommodation on the roll-on-roll-off water vessels anchored in Matnog, Sorsogon.
Gonzalez also lashed at the DPWH for referring to the ongoing highway road concreting as a road widening effort when in fact they are mere road improvement projects becausse the ongoing concreting of the road’s fourth lane is within the existing unimproved 20-meter highways roadway while the road improvement or concreting is within the existing busy four-lane road.
According to Gonzalez the present existing 4-lane roadway remains intended for motorists while pedestrians have to use the 4th lane at their own risk because of the absence of the 3-meter easement parallel to the road that pedestrians can safely use. The existing unimproved lanes on both sides which should make up for the 4-lane highway are undergoing concreting and/or construction.
DPWH officials claimed that primary and secondary national roads in the region have each lane measuring 3.1-meter only, or barely a total of 12.4-meter of its width against what should be a 20-meter wide roadway.
Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda who tried to pass by the Banag – Busay route admitted that the severe traffic congestion along the highway spanning the 2nd and 3rd districts of the province has been hampering access and mobility within that portion of the highway.
Salceda said he has District Engineer Danilo Villa of Albay second engineering district to exert extra efforts to lessen traffic congestion in all the routes in Daraga which have been undergoing construction and expansion.