Well, there may be such a cheat, but so far as I know - you are the first to talk about it.
Yes, there are techniques of "leap-froging" a series of Construction Offices to build a remote facility on a big map so that the "walking" distance vs efficiency can be managed. Look here:http://www.the-nextlevel.com/tropico/cafe/index.php?topic=9134.msg185787#msg1857871) Construction Priorities. Why do workers sometimes ignore a distant high-priority project in favor of a nearby low-priority project? The priority system is not absolute, but rather is a function of distance and priority setting. For buildings with equal priority, workers always go to the nearest building. Each level of "construction priority" counts as 25 cells of map distance. Workers will still go to a low-priority building if it's at least 25 cells closer than a medium-priority building, or 50 cells closer than a high-priority building. The "stopped" priority is absolute; a stopped building will be ignored no matter what distance it is from a worker.
Discussion (with a couple of errors) about small towns vs one big city:http://www.the-nextlevel.com/tropico/cafe/index.php?topic=9134.msg185883#msg185883
Discussion of locations:http://www.the-nextlevel.com/tropico/cafe/index.php?topic=9134.msg185920#msg185920
Discussion of growth with variations on reaching out with a series of Construction Offices:http://www.the-nextlevel.com/tropico/cafe/index.php?topic=9134.msg185923#msg185923... build lots of construction offices. But how to get the best use out of all the construction workers?
What I generally do once my economy is stabilized is start development based on one of several concepts, what I call sprawl, line, leapfrog and hub-and-spokes.
Sprawl is the simplest. Just start plunking down new construction offices radiating outward. Fill in as you go.
Line is easy to understand. Pick a line that will eventually lead you to something valuable, like gold or a nice area for an airport. (Or your polution control site for Electric Plants.) Plunk down a new construction office, a few apartment complexes or tenements just past it, and some money making farms, mines, or tourist buildings on either side. Set the pay at the new site office two dollars higher than the last site office you built (up to a max of about 20-26 a month) Set it to high priority, and as soon as it's complete, pause and take a look at the nearest other construction offices.
Fire about half the workers at two nearby sites offices. Choose carefully based on these criteria: Is the worker currently near the new site? Do they live nearby? Do they have a high skill level? You want your highly skilled workers at your front line of development, but not if they live half an island away. The less skilled workers can learn their trade building roads, landscaping, and building small in-fill type projects at the trailing edge of construction.
As the areas at the center become complete (available space is full, roads are done, area is as pretty as you want it) you should close out the construction offices. If there are plenty of other offices nearby, you might even bulldoze some and put up a fountain or a market.
Hub and Spokes is similar, except for the pattern of growth. In a hub and spokes, pick several lines leading towards distant goals and start out like a line, but fill in like a sprawl. It will take longer to get to your goals this way than concentrating on one.
Leapfrog does away with waiting to get to the goals. In this strategy, the idea is to get where you want to go as quickly as possible. Put the construction offices further apart and only build a tenement next to one before moving on to the next. Once you reach the goal, though, you should put up several offices and rapidly develop your support infrastructure (housing, food supply, teamsters ((if it's a goods producing region)), entertainment, a clinic, and a church) Failure to quickly develop support infrastructure for a distant town can lead to huge inefficiency.
I hope that helps. You can also brouse the "Game Guide" thread for additional ideas.