BAGUIO CITY – The local legislative body requested the Cordillera office of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH-CAR) and the Cordillera Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) to provide equal treatment to Tuba and Baguio residents in the temporary use of the scenic and historic Kennon road to help in decongesting major roads leading to the country’s undisputed Summer Capital, especially during the conduct of upcoming major events that will draw the influx of foreign and domestic visitors.
Local legislators claimed that if the DPWH-CAR and CDRRMC acceded to the appeal of Tuba officials embodied in a resolution to temporarily open the 34-kilometer roadline for the use of the residents, then the same treatment must also be afforded to the officials and resident of Baguio who have been longing for access to Kennon road to serve as an alternate road leading to the city.
DPWH-CAR officials were invited to appear during the regular session of the local legislative body last Monday to clarify the issues why Kennon Road remains closed to vehicular traffic despite the need of the road to be opened to light vehicles at the least to provide alternate routes for motorists wanting to go in and out of the city.
Local legislators also raised the issue on the reported snails-paced work of alleged favoured contractors who seem to take their sweet time in the implementation of their awarded projects which is to the greater disadvantage of motorists wanting to ply the said route.
Based on the updated report of DPWH-CAR officials, the Camp 5 bridge will be completed by the end of February but it will still not be passable because its pavement will still be subject to the required curing period while works on the scoured Camp 1 and Camp 6 bridges are still underway.
Further, the rock netting project along the Klondykes section of the road is scheduled for completion by the middle of July this year considering the need to still await the arrival of the imported nets which will be used for the project.
On the other hand, of the 9 critical sections along the road that were identified for rehabilitation and repair, 1 project was already fund under the government’s appropriations for 2018, 3 projects have been proposed for funding under the 2019 national budget wherein the same were already bidded out short of award and awaiting the approval of the budget in Congress before their immediate implementation while the 5 other critical projects are still awaiting funding from the agency’s priority projects that could be sourced from available appropriations.
DPWH-CAR officials predicted that if the funds for the identified 9 priority projects will be simultaneously released to ensure the immediate implementation of the programmed projects, Kennon road will be fully rehabilitated within one year to ensure that it will be safe for the motorists wanting to travel along the roadline and that it will be opened to light vehicles for the meantime.
Kennon Road is still considered as the shortest route to and from the city and that it was able to gain popularity worldwide because of its scenic zigzag route traversing to various tourist destinations en route to the city proper.
By Dexter A. See
File photo by Kerby Rillera, 12/23/18