BAGUIO CITY — Cordillera leaders are advising the public to take the newly-opened alternative road to Baguio to ease traffic on Marcos Highway leading to the City of Pines, especially this holiday season.
“The use of the alternate route will address the traffic situation on Marcos Highway, considering its capacity is just for 34,568 vehicles,” Baguio City Mayor and Cordillera Regional Development Council Chairman Mauricio Domogan said on Friday.
The road is now fully paved, following the inauguration of the Anduyan bridge connecting Tubao, La Union and Tuba, Benguet.
The new road is now passable to all types of vehicles, cutting travel time to Baguio by at least an hour.
Prior to the completion of the bridge, vehicles also have to pass on the riverbed to reach Benguet from Tubao, La Union.
Traffic on Marcos Highway going to Baguio gets congested on long weekends and during peak tourism season like Christmas, requiring the diversion of some vehicles to an alternate route.
Meanwhile, at the 4th quarter joint meeting of the RDC and the Peace and Order Council in Baguio on Dec. 19, Department of Public Works and Highways Cordillera regional director Tiburcio Canlas said the Kennon Road, another main thoroughfare to the City of Pines, might be open by Feb. 15, after being closed due to the onslaught of Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut) middle of September this year.
The council members were one in recommending the full utilization of the alternate route to decongest traffic along Marcos Highway, especially as the landslide-prone Kennon Road is still closed.
“Those who would like to spend the holidays in Baguio can use this road to shorten their travel time,” Domogan said.
Police Regional Office Cordillera (PROCOR) regional director, Chief Supt. Rolando Nana, urged the council to provide traffic advisory in Pugo, La Union to inform the motorists about the newly opened alternate route.
Nana said Baguio can be reached in one hour and 20 minutes from Pugo junction using the Asin-Nangalisan-San Pascual Road, a lot faster than taking the Marcos Highway for hours due to the slow traffic flow.
For vehicles coming from Manila to Baguio via the usual route leading to Marcos Highway, these can take the left road at the intersection going to Tubao and Agoo.
About 50 meters from the intersection after a gasoline station is a large signage saying, “Alternate road to Baguio,” which will bring the vehicle straight to Asin Road, where the hot springs are located.
“You won’t get lost once you enter that alternate road. Just go straight and follow the main road,” said one driver, who passed the alternate road.
Upon reaching the hot springs, go straight up to the Ifugao Wood Carving Village passing the BenCab museum. Upon reaching Kilometer 4, on the left side is the diversion road leading to Naguillian Road, the right side leading to Suello Village and exit to Marcos Highway, and the middle road leading to “Cooyeesan” Mall, which is about 50 meters to the Lourdes Grotto intersection.
If going to La Trinidad, Benguet, from Cooyeesan, take the road on the left side, which leads to Tam-awan and Puguis, straight to the strawberry fields.
If going to Kennon Road, take the road leading to Suello Village and exit at Marcos Highway. Upon exiting, take the side of the road going Manila and go to the road beside Police Station 9 towards Balacbac Road. This will lead the traveler to Camp 7 on Kennon Road.
Nana also urged the DPWH to have point men and traffic advisories on the road to help direct travelers./Pamela Mariz Geminiano (PNA)