Close-open for Kennon on special occasions

BAGUIO CITY  – The historic Kennon Road will be on a close-open situation during special occasions in communities along the 34-kilometer roadline and in Baguio city where there will be huge influx of motor vehicles going in and out of the country’s undisputed Summer Capital while major rehabilitation and upgrading projects in the identified critical sections are being completed.

This  agreement was reached among local officials of Baguio City and Tuba, Benguet and regional directors of national government agencies during an inter-agency consultative meeting hosted by the Cordillera Office of the Civil Defense (OCD-CAR) Thursday afternoon.

The meeting was called by the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) to assess the compliance of the local governments and concerned government agencies on their assigned duties and responsibilities when the roadline was temporarily opened for residents living in communities located along the stretch of the shortest route to Baguio city and vice versa and to finalize the contents of a memorandum of understanding that will contain their commitment in monitoring the activities of motorists passing through the road.

While the major infrastructure projects re being completed by the Cordillera office of the Department of Public works and Highways (DPWH-CAR) in the 9 identified critical sections of the road, DPWH-CAR regional director Engr. Tiburcio Canlas informed the local officials, particularly Baguio city Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan, Tub Mayor Ignacio Rivera, Tuba vice mayor Clarita Sal-ongan , Councilor Maria Carantes and concerned barangay officials, and heads of agencies that Kennon road can be opened to light vehicles during special occasions such as the alumni homecoming  of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), the highlights of the 4th edition of Panagbenga, the PMA graduation rites among others while the projects being implemented along the stretch of the road are being completed.

Local officials and heads of regional line agencies are expected to sign the prepared and finalized memorandum of understanding considering that their duties and responsibilities have been outlined in the said document which will govern the temporary opening of the road to residents.

One of the agreements reached during Thursday’s meetings is that only motor vehicles having a gross weight of 5 tons will be allowed to pass through the road pending the completion of the ongoing construction of the Camp 5 bridge and the rehabilitation of the Camp 1 and Camp 6 bridges which were damaged by the recent weather disturbances that visited the region last year.

OCD-CAR regional director and RDRRMC chairperson retired Commodore Albert Mogul will be meeting separately with sand-and-gravel concessionaires along the roadline to convince them to comply with the limit on the weight of motor vehicles passing through critical portions of the road so that no further damages will be inflicted on the already damaged portions of the road that can prolong its closure.

Canals said Kennon road will be opened to light vehicles once all the programmed projects in the 9 identified critical sections shall have been completed to ensure the safety of motorists passing through the historic roadline.

By Dexter A. See

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