P25 million needed to stabilize Marcos highway slope

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TUBA, Benguet – The government needs at least P25 million to construct a crib wall on the mountain slope at Begis, Badiwan, here, to prevent the recurrence of soil erosion and rockslides that will again cause the temporary closure of one of the main highways leading to Baguio City.

Engr. Ireneo S. Gallato, district engineer of the Department of Public Works and Highways – First Benguet District Engineering Office (DPWH-FBDEO), said technical personnel completed the design and cost estimates of the proposed crib wall to be constructed and that the same will be used to support the request for funding to be used in the implementation of the project.

However, he claimed it will now be up to higher authorities to look for the required funds for the project or include the same in the priority projects that will be funded under the agency’s budget for next year, thus, the provision of the funds for the project solely lies with the DPWH officials in the central office.

“We already prepared the appropriate documents will support our request for the provision of funds for the equally important project but the final decision still lies with our central office that is why we have to be patient in awaiting whatever will be their decision on what to do with the proposed project,” Engr. Gallato stressed.

The district engineer said that technical personnel of the agency and a private contractor, MA Camilo Freight Services, continue to closely monitor the slope, especially when there is a heavy downpour so that whatever debris that will fall from the slope and could cause the closure of the road will be immediately cleared considering that Marcos highway remains to be the most feasible rout to Baguio city to date while Kennon road remains closed to vehicular traffic.

Last month, Marcos Highway had been closed to vehicular traffic for several hours several times after a huge volume of debris and rocks fell from a mountain slope following continuous rains for over three weeks that resulted to serious delays in going in and out of Baguio City.

According to him, the series of road clearing operations that had been conducted by the agency along Marcos highway had been closely monitored by DPWH central officials considering that Marcos highway is one of the two remaining access roads going in and out of Baguio City and its prolonged closure will definitely have a serious negative impact to the economy and tourism industry of the Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay (BLISTT) area.

Gallato expressed his gratitude to the public for their utmost understanding on the current situation along Marcos highway but the agency is doing its best to lobby with DPWH officials for the immediate provision of funds for their proposed project to prevent the recurrence of the unscheduled closure of Marcos highway due to soil erosions and rockslides, especially in the identified critical areas of the roadline.

The DPWH-FBDEO covers national roads and bridges in the towns of La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba, Bokod and Kabayan while the DPWH-SBDEO covers roads and bridges in Tublay, Kapangan. Kibungan, Bakun, Atok, Bakun, Buguias and Mankayan.

By HENT

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