Plans to stabilize Marcos highway slope prepared

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LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Technical personnel of the Department of Public Works and Highways–First Benguet District Engineering Office (DPWH-FBDEO) are now currently preparing the detailed plans on the proposed interventions to stabilize the mountain slope along Marcos highway, particularly at Begis, Badiwan, Tuba, Benguet, to prevent soil erosion and rock slides that could result to the temporary closure of one of the two remaining roads going in and out of Baguio City during heavy downpour.

DPWH-FBDEO District Engineer Ireneo S. Gallato said that once the detailed plans and cost estimates shall have been completed probably in a week’s time, the agency will request for the provision of the funds to bankroll the implementation of the prescribed intervention to prevent repeated soil erosions and rockslides that will impede the smooth flow of vehicular traffic going in and out of Baguio City.

“We brought the matter to the attention of higher authorities through our constant reports that made them aware of the situation along Marcos highway. We were advised to prepare the plans and specifications of our recommended interventions for them to source out the required funds for the project that will be implemented along the roadline,” Gallato stressed.

Last month, Marcos highway was temporarily closed to vehicular traffic for a few hours several times after huge volume of debris and rocks from a mountain at Begis, Badiwan, Poblacion, Tuba, suddenly fell on the pavement following several days of continuous rains triggered by the southwest monsoon that prevailed over the region for nearly two months.

Because of the unexpected incidents, Gallato mobilized the agency’s maintenance personnel and available units of equipment, augmented by the manpower and heavy equipment of a private contractor, MA Camilo Freight Services, leading to the quick opening of the roadline to vehicular traffic.

According to him, the private contractor continued the massive clearing operations for several days to remove the softened debris and rocks until the hardened portion of the mountain slope was reached that stopped the continuous flow of debris and rocks from the slope thereby ensuring the smooth flow of traffic in the said area.

He expressed his gratitude to Rep. Nestor B. Fongwan, Benguet provincial officials led by Gov. Melchor Diclas and Tuba municipal officials under the able leadership of Mayor Clarita Sal-ongan for continuously monitoring the clearing operations that resulted to the round-the-clock clearing operations and the immediate clearing of the area covered by the soil erosion and rockslide.

Among the recommended interventions in the slope is to pursue benching activities to ensure that whatever debris from above will not directly flow down to the roadline but instead will be trapped in the terraces that will be constructed once funds will be made available for the said purpose.

He explained that it will be up to the DPWH central officials to source out the funds that will be proposed to bench the slope to prevent the free flow of debris from the slope during heavy downpour.

By HENT

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