Heavy traffic mars opening of CCLEX

·5 min read

THE Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) was opened to the public late Saturday afternoon, April 30, 2022, causing bumper-to-bumper traffic at the South Road Properties (SRP) in Cebu City and in Cordova town.

The opening of the expressway at 5:08 p.m. attracted a lot of motorists to the CCLEX who were eager to drive through the country’s longest bridge. Traffic on both sides of the expressway was moving but still at a slow pace as of press time.

The 8.9-kilometer CCLEX, which connects Cebu mainland from Mambaling, Cebu City to Mactan on the Cordova side, was inaugurated on April 27 in ceremonies led by President Rodrigo R. Duterte and Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan.

Cpl. Alan Barcede of the Cordova Police Station told SunStar Cebu that the traffic buildup on roads leading to the expressway started at 4 p.m., from Barangay San Miguel in Cordova town going to Barangay Babag 2 in Lapu-Lapu City.

At the other side of the CCLEX, officials of the Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) said traffic was also heavy at the SRP, where one of the third bridge’s entry points is located.

Lyntoni Alburo, CCTO head, said traffic at the SRP was moderate as of 9 p.m.

Allan Alfon, Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway Corporation (CCLEC) president and general manager, said the traffic buildup was caused by the long queue of vehicles waiting for their turn at the CCLEX.

But Alfon said the traffic situation was minor and he assured that steps will be taken to make sure traffic will be more manageable in the coming days.

He said their personnel will help manage traffic on both sides of the expressway so the bridge could serve its purpose of helping decongest traffic in Cebu’s major cities.

Alfon led CCLEC officials in opening Cebu’s third bridge to the public at 5:08 p.m. on Saturday, saying it was the “best time” to do so.

“We are happy and excited to finally welcome motorists to CCLEX, the new icon of Cebu,” Alfon said in a press statement released earlier in the day.

For now, only vehicles classified under Classes 1 to 3 are allowed to use the expressway. Motorcycles under 400cc will be allowed to use the expressway by July this year to give the CCLEC time to set up safety measures for these motorcycles.

Lanes for pedestrians and bikers will also open in July. They will be allowed to use the expressway for free.

CCLEX is a toll expressway that will use an all-electronic toll collection system. Vehicles using the CCLEX must be installed with radio frequency identification (RFID).

To give motorists more time to have the CCLEX RFID sticker installed on their vehicles, cash payments will be accepted in the meantime and motorists are advised to prepare the exact toll.

The full electronic toll collection will be implemented by June.

Alfon urged motorists in Cebu to install the CCLEX RFID on their vehicles while it still free to be able to use the expressway.

(Those who want to schedule their registration can sign up using the online form mptc.outsystemsenterprise.com/ORRAS/ or go to cclex.com.ph)

Toll rates

The Local Toll Regulatory Council (LTRC) has already authorized the implementation of the approved toll rates for the CCLEX.

The approved rates are:

P90 for Class I vehicles (cars, jeepneys, pick-ups, vans, and motorcycles);

P180 for Class I vehicles above 7 ft. in height (except when the top load is recreational equipment such as bikes, surfboards and the like, which must be securely fastened and not intended for commercial use);

P180 for Class II vehicles (light trucks, tourist/school and public utility buses);

P270 for Class III vehicles (heavy and multi-axle trucks and trailers)

In a statement, the CCLEC has reminded motorists that the expressway is a Traffic Discipline Zone. The expressway has a 24/7 traffic patrol crew to enforce traffic laws, as well as an emergency team to respond to incidents.

It also asked motorists to drive at the maximum speed of 60 kph. The CCLEX is designed for maximum speed of up to 80 kph but CCLEC is implementing a 60 kph limit during initial operations as part of safety measures since motorists are still not familiar with the expressway.

Drivers were also reminded not to stop at any area in the entire stretch of the expressway.

Aside from the use of the RFID, the CCLEX is also installed with a smart management traffic system that collects data from traffic flow to weather conditions to vehicle load.

This means that everything that happens at the bridge at any given time is monitored, alerting motorists of the driving conditions.

Even if high technology is in use, patrol crew composed of uniformed men will be roving the entire 8.9-kilometer CCLEX stretch 24/7.

Mareon Miole, CCLEC operations head, said in a media briefing at the CCLEX on April 28 that the smart management traffic system detects traffic load, speed and vehicle load, license plates, and road weather conditions that ensure safe driving.

More than 100 cameras and sensors are installed at CCLEX, whose condensed data are flashed on the gantries, she said.

The drivers are alerted of their speed, which is set at 60-80 kilometers per hour, and use of lanes.

Uniformed men also patrol the CCLEX in yellow big bikes and pickups to ensure that drivers observe road safety.

The expressway is a project of the CCLEC, a wholly owned subsidiary of the MPTC, in partnership with the Municipality of Cordova and the City of Cebu.

It is seen to not only ease traffic congestion in the metro but also spark socioeconomic development in the province, according to a study by the University of San Carlos.

For motorists, using the expressway means spending less time on the road. Those coming from the south cut their travel time to Mactan because they no longer have to pass the traffic bottlenecks in Mandaue City and at the first and second Mactan bridges. (HIC/ PR / MPS)

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