A new traffic scheme is being implemented at the Balili Bridge in La Trinidad, Benguet as the age-old structure is undergoing rehabilitation.
The Benguet First District Engineering Office of the Department of Public Works and Highways said the repair of the bridge will be finished by Dec. 16.
The La Trinidad Traffic Management Board is currently implementing a two-way traffic at project site along the Halsema Highway but limited to vehicles with a maximum weight of five tons.
Heavy trucks are diverted towards the Lamut-Shilan Road while private vehicles are advised to pass through the Pines Park-Lubas Road.
With the situation, residents are bracing for heavy traffic in these areas especially during rush hours.
Residents from the northern part of Benguet bound for Baguio City may take the Shilan-Beckel Road or Tawang-Ambiong Road.
The Balili Bridge, built in the 1950s, is along the Halsema Highway below the Benguet Capitol. It connects Km. 6 and Barangay Cruz and is one of the choke points in the municipality as it serves as a road going to the northern Benguet, Mountain Province, and the Ilocos provinces.
Last year, the bridge has incurred a full-depth hole, which caused huge traffic as only one lane was passable. The DPWH has placed a steel plate to cover the hole, allowing motorists to use both lanes. Some P18.5 million was earlier allotted for the repair of the structure.
The bridge has a condition rating of “bad” based on the Bridge Management System due to the numerous defects on the deck of the bridge.
Aside from the rehabilitation of the bridge, road constructions are also ongoing in Barangay Cruz, which added to the traffic according to the La Trinidad Municipal Police Station. – Ofelia C. Empian