Let Kennon Road heal – Magalong

THREE TO FIVE years of closure may help the 34-kilometer Kennon Road recover and stabilize from the risk of continuous soil erosions posing danger to life and property.

This was the suggestion of Mayor Benjamin Magalong after he led an onsite inspection on the 114-year-old major route to the city during the height of monsoon rains on the third week of August.

Magalong said his technical team composed of engineers who were also with him during his inspection have identified at least 22 critical areas falling rocks, landslides as well as mountain fissures. He said majority of the ciritical areas identified are located within the political jurisdiction of Benguet Province.

“I think we should let Kennon Road heal naturally. Hayaan muna na bumagsak ang mga loose soils at mag stabilize bago simulan ang rehabilitation works. Siguro kasya three to five years na hindi gagalawin ang Kennon Road,” Magalong said.

During the inspection Magalong noticed that most of the high risk areas for landslide were aggravated by human activities such as vegetable farms and piggery found on top of the mountains.

He opined that these human activities result to soil saturation making it prone to landslide.

Kennon Road had been totally closed to vehicular traffic late last year upon the recommendation of the Office of Civil Defense Cordillera due to continuous landslide incidences and the ongoing infrastructure works by the Department of Public Works and Highways Cordillera.

Magalong had been pressing the DPWH to speed up the rehabilitation of Kennon Road including suggestions on more permanent solutions to the perennial landslides.

Meanwhile, City Administrator Bonifacio Dela Pena, an engineer by profession, said he will collaborate with concerned agencies including the Mines and Geosciences Bureau to come out with permanent solutions to the problems besetting Kennon Road.

The city administrator added that better soil protection should be implemented including the use of steel nettings, higher retaining walls and the like for more permanent solutions against erosion./Jessa Mardy Samidan