By NATHAN SALVADOR
BAGUIO CITY — In an effort to address the public outrage among residents and tourists concerning the 44 simultaneous road projects across this city, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Baguio City District Engineering Office held a dialogue with concerned citizens on April 10, clearing issues and answering questions on how the office determines prospective road projects in the city’s national roads.
DPWH Baguio City District Engineer Alexander Castañeda invited groups of concerned citizens from various disciplines and backgrounds to detail how the office determines which roads to be rehabilitated or fully reconstructed and to provide a definite explanation of how the projects begun simultaneously.
He reiterated that all the 44 projects have been assigned a starting date by the DPWH Central Office, taking into consideration the curing of concrete, which is the material of choice for all projects. Most of the projects were scheduled to begin in February, but due to the simultaneous events of the Panagbenga festivities and the Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association (CARAA) meet, all the dates were pushed forward to the middle of March.
He, however, added that the office has adjusted its plans to meet the concerns of the public regarding traffic. The plan to reconstruct the entire General Luna Road had been altered such that the Upper General Luna Rd. segment was put on hold while the Fr. Carlu St. and Upper Bonifacio St. projects and the Lower General Luna Rd. segment are being finished. Projects in the City Market area, particularly along Zandueta and Chanum Sts., have also been put on hold so as not to add to the traffic woes of motorists and commuters across the city.
With regard to determining the need to rehabilitate roads, Castañeda detailed the standards the department follows in evaluating national roads. Potholes on an asphalt road and cracks on a concrete road are valid grounds for road rehabilitation, he said.
Castaneda added that the standards they follow for national roads are internationally renowned, and sanctions by the DPWH Central Office are due them if they do not act on it.
He also touched on issues regarding the conversion of local roads to national roads, which was the case of the Rimando-Ambiong Rd. rehabilitated on the second quarter of 2014. He made it clear beforehand, however, that local roads (barangay roads and city roads) are not of the office’s concern, and that issues on such roads must be directed to the city government through the City Engineering office. He added that the DPWH has issued a moratorium on road status conversions early 2015.
The district engineer also mentioned plans to develop bypass roads on the outskirts of the city for motorists, due 2016. # nordis.net