Public safety assured as Kennon reopens
BAGUIO CITY — Public Works Secretary Mark Villar has assured the public that safety measures are in place as the landslide-prone Kennon Road, the shortest route to this city, is scheduled to reopen on Feb. 14.
He said repairs are ongoing to fix portions of the road, including the bridge at Camp 5 that was damaged by typhoons last year.
“[The safety of commuters] is the top priority of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). We target to complete repairs by February,” he said during the Meet Inquirer Multimedia forum on Wednesday.
He said the closure of Kennon Road had caused inconvenience to commuters and motorists but he appealed for understanding as it may take a while to restore the road completely.
“We all know that Kennon Road is very prone to landslides. The DPWH is coming up with a master plan to address this problem and at the same time we’re repairing the damage,” Villar said.
He said the DPWH would finance a long-term plan using new technologies for the safety of commuters and motorists. “I think it’s not overdue. That is something that we’re working on this year. Especially given its susceptibility to natural calamities, that will be the focus this year. What’s important is we plan,” Villar said.
According to him, there is no plan to close Kennon Road permanently. “What we want is a permanent solution to the perennial problem of Kennon Road,” he said.
Albert Mogol, director of the Office of Civil Defense in Cordillera, said Kennon Road would be temporarily opened “for light vehicles only” in time for the Philippine Military Academy alumni homecoming and Panagbenga (Baguio Flower Festival) next month.
Only vehicles weighing 5 tons and below would be allowed to pass through Kennon Road, he said.
In the original program of work, repairs were targeted to be completed by the end of March, said Tiburcio Canlas, director of the DPWH Cordillera. “Should there be delays, it would be two to three days but it will surely be opened before the Panagbenga parades,” Mogol said. —Kimberlie Quitasol
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