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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, January 8, 2018
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Strange flyover


It is said that strange things happen we can never dream of. In most cases we just wonder how in the world these things came to be. But experience of humankind says nothing happens without cause. The lyric of the “The Sound of Music” says it beautifully, “nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could.”

So what happened to the new flyover south of Bacolod that the northern end is longer than the southern end? I am not an architect or a civil engineer but simple logic tells us that the length of the two terminus should be the same once they reach road level unless for clear and sound reason the variation is imperative for practical purposes.

Information says that in the case of the Araneta flyover, the northern end point is 145 meters long while that of the south is only 100 meters. These are not estimates but somebody did a job of measuring the end points perhaps curious or affected by the difference in length.

So why so big a difference? The northern end of the flyover in Bata is a bit long, just a bit, because of the two public terminals there, on both sides of the flyover. A U-turn close to the terminus would be disastrous so that the U-turn slot is about a hundred meters away from the northern end point. There is no U-turn slot at the southern end point because there is no dividing island there while the highway from the flyover to the north has one. In fact a barrier should be constructed on that island from the terminus of the flyover to the slot because vehicles and pedestrians try to take a short cut. We already had a fatal accident there because people try to beat the traffic.

This discrepancy in the southern flyover has elicited several theories or more precisely, suspicion. The reason for this suspicion is that the end points adversely affect the businesses at the terminus of the flyover, so that those in the south that are affected could have “interceded” to shorten the terminus.

Motor vehicles that use the flyover naturally bypass the businesses along the way. That in itself already has a negative impact on the business but the owners did not oppose the flyover because the city must move on to solve traffic snarls that also adversely bear upon them.

The longer end point is close to the mall where passenger jeeps converge for passengers to disembark or take a ride. Here also PUJs wait for passengers. The vehicles coming in from the flyover thus run smack into them. This is the reason that the expected free flow of northbound traffic from the flyover did not happen. In fact, two days after the flyover's inauguration I passed by the side street and wondered why traffic stood still even at the top of the flyover. The vehicles got stuck at the north end point because of the jeeps waiting for or disembarking passengers.

Had the northern end point been shorter this snarl would not have happened because the jeeps would by then be far out to their “stop”.

There is another reason for the jam. Vehicles coming in from the flyover and wanting to enter the mall have to take a left turn. This means a long wait because of heavy traffic. Since the terminus is only several meters from this left turn point, a jam cannot be avoided all the way to the flyover.

The planners of this flyover must have considered the traffic situation in the area. In fact traffic is the reason for this project that then acting Bacolod City Mayor Greg Gasataya signed immediately the permit to solve the monstrous traffic situation. It still is but the flyover helped ease the flow at Araneta and Magsaysay junction. But the 145 meters extension from where the flyover ends at road level, caused a worse problem - jam at the flyover.

This is a strange case. At the southern end the road is wide, it has less pedestrian flow, and no mall or passenger pick up point on both sides, yet the flyover is shorter. Thus the traffic flow there is smooth.

Why is the northern terminus longer? DPWH or the contractor should explain or remove this anomalous discrepancy that negates the full value of the flyover.*



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