Cebu 'carmageddon': Road, bridge repairs cause gridlock

Those who traveled between Lapu-Lapu City and Mandaue City on Tuesday, February 9, got a taste of "carmageddon" – a term often used to describe the extreme gridlock in Metro Manila.

Some students from Lapu-Lapu City had to walk to school in Mandaue, while social media users reported standstill traffic coming from the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA).

On Twitter, Marvi Rahzel Jaleco said that she hadn't even left the airport gate but her cab fare was already over P100.

Jeni Lyn, another Twitter user who arrived at the MCIA on Tuesday, said she touched down at 8:20 am, and was still at the taxi terminal at 9 am. It took her 3 1/2 hours to reach her home near Osmeña Boulevard in Cebu City, about 12 kilometers away from the airport.

 The traffic was caused by the partial closure of the old Mactan bridge to Mandaue-bound vehicles, as well as roadworks on A Soriano Avenue and Plaridel Street in Mandaue City. 

According to a Sun.Star report, repairs on the Mactan-Mandaue Bridge (also called the "old bridge") began on Monday morning, February 8. These construction projects prompted the rerouting of all vehicles leaving Lapu-Lapu City, with cars directed to take the Marcelo Fernan Bridge.

That triggered congestion in both Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu.

UN Avenue, the road leading to the Marcelo Fernan Bridge, experienced traffic moving as slow as 2 kilometers per hour (km/h), according to Waze.

Aside from being home to the MCIA, Lapu-Lapu City also has several export processing zones where at least 80,000 people are employed in the manufacturing sector. 

Dozens of resorts are also located along the eastern coast of Mactan island. 

According to Waze, traffic was still crawling from 2 to 5 km/h at the Marcelo Fernan Bridge at around 9:30 am.

At around 10 am, Cebu Daily News reported that some students were walking from the Mactan-Mandaue Bridge to campus. 

The bridge repairs are expected to take 4 to 6 months to complete. – 

Ryan Macasero

Ryan covers Cebu and the Visayas for Rappler. He covers all news in the region, but is particularly interested in people stories, development issues and local policy making.