BRT proposal for Iloilo City to cut heavy traffic says mayor

Road widening may have caused heavier traffic jams in Iloilo City as wider roads meant more private vehicles in the metro. (Arnold Almacen file)

By Joseph B.A. Marzan

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas on Thursday touted a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) proposal in the city, saying that it would cut traffic caused by continuous road-widening in major thoroughfares.

Treñas bared the proposed BRT system of Filipino engineering and construction company First Balfour in a statement on Wednesday evening.

First Balfour’s website touts its track record, which includes the construction of St. Luke’s Medical Center at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City, the Philippine Statistics Authority’s Civil Registry System Building in Quezon City, data centers in Makati City, Quezon City, and Clark in Pampanga, the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway in Cebu, and several restoration and expansion projects of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1 in Metro Manila, among others.

There are no details yet on the BRT proposal, as the company has merely requested the city’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP), Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP), and Local Public Transport Route Plan (LPTRP), among other things, which are required for the creation of their detailed proposal.

“The proposal of First Balfour for an e-vehicle BRT for Iloilo City is a very important milestone in the transportation industry in the whole country. This will be very good for Metro Iloilo since this will help us avoid what happened to the traffic situation of the NCR and Cebu. I look forward to this project and it is my hope that it will move forward smoothly,” Treñas said in a statement.

The mayor also discussed the matter on Friday, stating that it may be the answer to the worsening traffic situation, which he attributed to the expansion of lanes at Benigno Aquino Jr. Avenue (Diversion Road).

He added that the proposal would cover not only Iloilo City, but also the Metro Iloilo area, which includes the neighboring Iloilo province towns of Cabatuan, Leganes, Oton, Pavia, San Miguel, and Santa Barbara.

“Our problem is always that, the more we widen the roads, the more cars we have. When there was still two lanes at Diversion [Road], there was [heavy] traffic but only to a minimal [extent], but when we expanded to four lanes and a service road, there was still [heavy] traffic,” he said.

“I read the newspapers every day, I turn to the Business [section], and I saw that there were 300,000 cars [sold] last year [2022]. We [in Iloilo City] may have a part in [those numbers] too. Many of them are in NCR, that’s why traffic there is highly difficult. When you have a BRT, you have a dedicated lane only for the buses, where the buses can ply, and maybe for the jeepneys, where [they] will be,” he added.

He also linked it to the Iloilo-Santa Barbara BRT project, which was recently approved by the National Economic and Development Authority-Investment Coordination Committee (NEDA-ICC) for pre-project preparation under the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

The said BRT project is just one of two pre-preparation projects in the city under the DOTr, the other one being the revival of the Panay Railways System.


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