TUBA, Benguet – Traders doing business along the scenic and historic Kennon Road are now calling on the Cordillera offices of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH-CAR) and the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) to open the 34-kilometer roadline to vehicular traffic for the convenience of motorists and for them to recover from the huge losses that they incurred since the total closure of the road in July last year.
Owners of sand and gravel concessions, food establishments, gasoline stations, fruit stores, souvenir shops, sari-sari stores, recreational facilities among other businesses that were established along strategic portions of the road admitted that some of their businesses have already closed operations while others are about to close shop because of the poor business climate in their areas of operation due to the total closure of the road for over ten months now.
Some of the traders argued that they are aware of the safety issues along some portions of the road but the same could be remedied with the putting in place of the appropriate warning and directional signages to forewarn motorists, thus, the total closure of the road should be out of the precautionary measures because of the presence of people living in already established communities along the road.
Councilor Maria Carantes, owner of a crushing plant in Barangay Camp 6, explained that the 5-ton limit of light vehicles passing along the road should be reconsidered because if there are 2 or more light vehicles that pass on the declared damaged bridges at the same time, it already defeated the purpose of imposing the limit.
She added that the imposition of the limit on light vehicles is unfair to their clients because they are forced to remove portions of their load of aggregates if their vehicles are found to have exceeded the 5-ton limit when personnel manning the bridges allow several light vehicles to pass through the bridges at the same time which is no longer in consonance to the imposed limit.
Carantes also recommended that the public works department could also provide a detour route from the demonstration bridge that could be temporarily used by their clients by placing several huge box culverts and backfilling the same so that mini-dump trucks loaded with construction aggregates could pass through it instead of passing to the damaged bridge.
The local legislator underscored that the summer months is only the time where traders in the area could earn decent income, thus, the road must be already opened to light vehicles for them to earn the needed income that will sustain the living condition of their families or else they will be made to starve and eventually lose their hard earned investments on their businesses that will close due to the lack of compassion and consideration by government officials.
Carantes asserted that there are other roads in the province that suffered bigger damages than Kennon Road but the same were not closed to motorists.
Photo by: JOSEPH B. MANZANO