TUBLAY, Benguet — The House committee on public works supports the long standing clamour from various sectors in the different parts of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) to re-engineer the grade of most mountain highways in order to ensure the safety of motorists as well as to continuously provide supply of agricultural crops from the farms to the markets.
However, Benguet Rep. Ronald M. Cosalan, chairman of the House committee on public works, admitted the funding requirement will be a major problem in the realization of the said project but there is a need to inculcate to the minds of national leaders the importance of public safety along major entry and exit points of the region.
The lawmaker ordered officials of the Department of Public works and Highways (DPWH) in the Cordillera to submit their proposed re-engineering works on national roads in the region so that the funding requirement will be remedied the soonest.
Among the proposed re-engineering works in major roads in the region include the lowering of the steep grades of the highways, construction of sturdy concrete barriers in identified critical portions of the highways, putting up of service stations in steep grades of the roads to break the grade, putting up of more steel guardrails as well as the installation of more signage and weighing stations so that overloaded vehicles ascending and descending on the roads will be able to unload their excess baggage.
Cosalan claimed that the construction of mountain highways is the most expensive because of the need to put up other features such as appropriate drainage systems, slope protection walls and reduce its grade for the benefit of safer travel.
One of the major priorities for re-engineering, according to Cosalan, is the Marcos Highway, which is considered as the region’s all-weather road, since there is an urgent need to reduce the grade of the 3.2-kilometer steep portion of the road from a gasoline station in Baguio City to the state-of-the-art rockshed in Badiwan, Tuba, Benguet.
Based on a report submitted to him by the DPWH-CAR, Alexander Castaneda, the agency’s assistant regional director, said the killer portion of Marcos Highway has a maximum grade of 16.7 percent which is way above the supposed 12 degrees normal grade for mountain roads.