April 24, 2024

No justification of Kennon Road closure

This has reference to the letter of Department of Public Works and Highways-Cordillera Director Tiburcio Canlas published in your March 8 issue. He was reacting to my letter titled “We need engineers who build roads, not who count money” which appeared in a previous issue of the Courier.
The letter was not only regarding the closure of Kennon Road, but the useless projects of the agency done in the guise of rehabilitation.
The DPWH-CAR director cited a 1968 report of the then Bureau of Mines that said that the slopes surrounding Kennon Road were already heavily fractured.
If the slopes were really fractured, why is it then that during the 1990 earthquake, there was no mass devastation of Kennon Road? After the earthquake, it was only closed for a month or two. Why? I hope the Mines and Geosciences Bureau can answer this.
I do not believe that the 2003 Japanese International Cooperation Agency report triggered the ban on vehicles weighing 10 tons or more from traversing Kennon Road. It’s the DPWH-CAR at the time that implemented it.
The DPWH-CAR has studied that banning heavy vehicles from passing through Kennon Road will ease traffic movement and prevent vehicular accidents.
On the JICA report, what were the recommendations?
I strongly believe JICA did not recommend “rocknetting” the slopes of Kennon Road.
I have been to Japan and never saw a “rocknetted” mountain slope much more with concrete barriers, which means that this engineering intervention is not useful.
I furnished the DPWH-CAR a video of the “rocknetted” sections of Kennon Road showing that the road concrete pavement is free of damages from falling rocks and another video of the Bontoc-Kalinga Road particularly at the Tocucan-Sadanga junction section showing hundreds, if not thousands of damaged portions of the road concrete pavement by falling rocks and boulders but the same road was not recommended for closure like Kennon Road.
I believe that anomalous transactions and corrupt practices in the DPWH-CAR is one of the reasons that it has poor ratings in corruption perception surveys among government agencies in the past. — JUNIPER DOMINGUEZ, Baguio City