Baguio Mayor Favors 3-Year Closure of Kennon Road for Rehabilitation
Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong said he is seriously considering the proposed three-year closure plan for Kennon Road to make way for its total rehabilitation.
“I’m glad na finally pinag-iisapan nila isara ‘yan ng three years,” Magalong said in a radio interview.
Magalong said that the local government was able to conduct an inspection of the major provincial thoroughfare three weeks prior and wondered why the rehabilitation is taking so long.
“Nakita namin kung ano ang problema especially doon sa mga very unstable ‘yung slopes. In fact, there are 21 critical points sa buong Kennon Road na talagang very unstable ‘yung slopes dyan,” Magalong said.
Whenever heavy downpour occurs, Kennon Road is often closed off from motorists and other users to keep people and vehicles from being swept by landslides.
Magalong’s structural engineers emphasized that there are certain errors with design, especially in the Benguet area.
“Mali ‘yung design ng (previous) engineers natin sa rehabilitation ng slopes, at the same time, talagang unstable ‘yung ground,” he said.
The official added that most of the slopes prone to erosion are rife with human activity.
“Mayroong mga babuyan na na-saturate ng tubig ‘yung soil, mayroong garden, mayroong ginagawang kalsada sa taas na our public highways (Department of Public Works and Highways) were not even aware…ang dami rin problema talaga doon,” he explained.
After the area inspection, Magalong met with all agencies looking at Kennon Road’s rehabilitation.
Magalong said that he is fully aware of the effect that a three-year closure can do to traffic flow in the area, adding that the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) had previously recommended that Kennon Road be closed for 15 years to rebuild it from the ground up.
“Pabagsakin na lang muna lahat. Stabilize muna ang slope, walang dadaan para safe lahat. We simply have to bite the bullet para masiguradong wala nang disgrasyang mangyayari doon,” he said.