Baguio City has become more accessible than it was a decade ago, with the opening of northern tollways allowing for faster trips to and from the country’s summer capital. However, the roads leading up to the mountains—specifically Kennon Road—have also become more dangerous in recent years.
According to a report by ABS-CBN, there have already been five landslides reported along Kennon in 2019 alone, all of which were caused by heavy rains. Now, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Cordillera are looking to address this problem through a proposed massive rehabilitation project that will see this major thoroughfare closed for three whole years.
In an interview, OCD Cordillera regional director Albert Mogol explains the rationale behind the road closure: “Para mapabilis yung paggawa. Kasi kung open-close ito, maaantala yung paggawa. Pero, open ito para sa residents.”
Apart from road widening, the project aims to make the roads safer than they are now through slope protection procedures including rock netting as well as the building of retaining walls and rock sheds along the whole stretch of the famous mountain road. The project is estimated to cost around P3.7 billion in total.
Meanwhile, Baguio City mayor Benjamin Magalong agrees with the long-term rehabilitation project. “We simply have to bite the bullet para masiguradong wala nang disgrasyang mangyayari doon,” Magalong said in a previous interview.
A 34km tunnel is also being proposed to provide motorists with an alternative route while Kennon Road is being rehabilitated. However, no further details about it have been provided at the moment.
If the road closure does push through, how do you think this will affect traffic going to Baguio City?