Kennon Road upkeep provides improved income for locals

COLD SUMMER. Fog forms above the mountains of Kennon Road leading to Baguio City on May 17, 2024. The winding road reopened to light vehicles on May 1 using an alternating one-way traffic scheme while there is an ongoing construction of the columns of a rock shed structure.
COLD SUMMER. Fog forms above the mountains of Kennon Road leading to Baguio City on May 17, 2024. The winding road reopened to light vehicles on May 1 using an alternating one-way traffic scheme while there is an ongoing construction of the columns of a rock shed structure. PNA photo

BUSINESSES along the historic Kennon Road in Benguet province are benefiting from the ongoing repair and maintenance works, easing their travel, transport of goods, and boosting income for residents on the 33-kilometer highway.

Kennon Road reopened to light vehicles on May 1 after repairs started on Feb. 19.

It is the preferred route going to and from Baguio City because it shortens travel time by 30 to 45 minutes, compared to Marcos Highway.

Different villages have jurisdictions over the whole stretch -- Camps 3, 4 and 6 in Tuba, Benguet, and Camp 7 in Baguio City.

“With more travelers passing, eating at the restaurants and buying fruits or any products from the stores, the businesses benefit,” Romy Salinas, Barangay Camp 4 council member, said in Ilocano on the sidelines of the Kapihan sa Bagong Pilipinas forum at the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) regional office here on Tuesday.

DPWH-Cordillera Director Khadaffy Tanggol told the Philippine News Agency that construction of the 151-meter rock shed project, worth PHP264 million, started in 2023 to address the perennial landslides.

“That part is prone to landslide and based on a soil study, a rock net will not stabilize the mountain slope. That was why the consultant recommended the construction of a rock shed,” he said.

After its completion by the end of September, Tanggol said Kennon Road would be safer for travelers.

“We can see at Marcos Highway the advantage of a rock shed. Since its construction in the 1990s, the frequent closure of the road due to landslides in the area was addressed. I think that will be the same at Kennon,” he said.

He said they hope to see a tunnelling project in the future, especially with the technology already being used for a project in Davao City.

“Eventually gagawin na rin natin kasi andyan na ang technology (Eventually, we will be doing it because the technology is already here),” Tanggol said. (PNA)

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