IMAGINE a multimodal tree-lined road alongside the Bicol River where one can go biking or jogging safely early in the morning or just before sunset.
Think also of a large open park with families and groups of friends leisurely spending their time and children socializing in playgrounds surrounded by bike and jogging lanes not too far from a well-maintained open-air concert ground and football field.
This scene will no longer be a figment of one’s imagination if the plans of the city government push through two years from now. Already, a new bypass road and access road are under construction, opening up the areas for proposed location of the Bicol River Esplanade and People’s Park and Recreation Center in Barangay Tabuco. The new thoroughfares are expected to help relieve traffic congestion along Roxas Avenue, especially with the scheduled opening of two large membership shopping complexes in the area later this year. Legacion has identified the tourism projects as a top priority given that Naga lacks adequate open spaces for recreation and leisure.
The city mayor said the project will be undertaken in 2024 and it is hoped that the city government can secure financial support from senators, congressmen, and government agencies. Legacion added that he has been meeting personally with potential sponsors of priority infrastructure projects to save the city government from spending its meager resources. A bridge connecting the Sagop Creek and the Bicol River Esplanade/Boulevard (Barangay Tabuco side) will also be constructed this year.
The city mayor also said that the Naga City Police Office Station 5, which is based at the Bicol Central Station, will set up a permanent headquarters in a 1,000 sq. meter lot inside the proposed People’s Park and Recreation Center to look after the area’s peace and order.
In another part of Naga, plans are underway to improve the access road from Magsaysay Avenue leading to the Balatas New Development Area. Last year, the city government finished constructing a crucial road link from the Naga City Science High School to the Balatas-Cararayan road, relieving traffic congestion at the Magsaysay-Dayangdang-Balatas junction. Mayor Legacion said that this road will be further developed into a four-lane road with P49.5 million provided by the office of Senator Ramon Revilla Jr.
To be funded with P20-M sourced as grant by Mayor Nelson Legacion from the office of Sen. Sonny Angara is the road widening project that will start from the corner of Magsaysay Avenue to the Naga City Science High School in Barangay Balatas where the aforementioned road begins.
The city government has already constructed the Balatas National High School to ease the strain on the Camarines Sur National High School, the Naga City Event Center II, the New Naga City Hospital, of which the construction is ongoing, the Urban Agriculture Training and Demo Farm Center, and an expanse of land where the Center for Safety and Resiliency will be put up. Soon to rise at the new development area is a large satellite market and bagsakan center for agricultural products to be put up by businessman Robert Obiedo, who is the proprietor of the Villa Caceres Hotel.
Legacion has assigned ACTO Chief Alec Santos to help draw up urban plans for the development of the newly opened areas starting with the Balatas New Development Area. Santos, a Career Executive Service Eligible, is currently taking up graduate studies at the University of the Philippines’ School of Urban and Regional Planning. He is also being tapped to help make plans for the large expanse of undeveloped land along Almeda Highway and the Bicol River where the Esplanade and People’s Park and Recreation Center will be constructed.
Soon to start also this year is the re-blocking and widening project along the Balatas-Cararayan-San Isidro-Carolina road with P300-M budget. The project will link with the already-widened portion of the road from Cararayan to San Isidro.
In an interview, the city mayor also disclosed that as part of the Department of Public Works and highways’ regular programing, the government agency has appropriated around P55-M for the implementation of its continued road widening project along the San Felipe-Pacol-Carolina road.
Regarding the construction of the 2.1-kilometer Almeda-Mabolo Bypass Road, the mayor said that the project has already an available complete budget of P400 million (P200-M for the construction of the bridge, and another P200-M for the road construction in Mabolo section) that is expected to be completed in year 2024.
(Jason B. Neola, CEPPIO)