The Cordillera Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) announced the re-opening of Kennon Road, starting 6 p.m. on Friday until 6 a.m. on Monday (March 18), for a simulation to find out the viability of permanently opening it to two-way vehicular traffic every weekend.

Albert Mogol, CDRRMC chairman and Office of Civil Defense (OCD) director, said Friday that only light vehicles weighing less than five tons will be allowed to pass Kennon road though.

“We will simulate to ensure the safety of all motorists who will use it and to assure that there will be a smooth flow of traffic,” Mogol said.

He said when Kennon road was opened during the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) homecoming and the Baguio Flower festival last month, no untoward incident happened.

“It was successful because everybody cooperated,” he said.

After the simulation this weekend, they will assess if they can continue to open the road during weekends for the whole summer season until the projects being done are completed.

He said they want to give in to the request of motorists for short travel time to and from Baguio via Kennon road, as well as the clamor of residents along Kennon road for convenient travel and revive their economic activity.

Mogol said safety is a factor considering the repairs being done and the schedule that the contractors have to comply with to prevent being blacklisted by the government for delayed project completion.

“Safety is our primary consideration. Any major incident that may cause loss of life, we will be forced to close Kennon and investigate what caused it,” he said.

Meanwhile, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) – Cordillera Director Tiburcio Canlas said the rock netting for slope protection along several sections of the 33-km. road are ongoing.

Canlas said they will see if they need to stop working during weekends when the road is open or they can simply install safety nets to prevent rocks from falling and hitting passersby.

He said many schools will end their classes soon and many people might be going to Baguio for summer vacation.

Both Mogol and Canlas have ordered concerned members of the task force to immediately issue advisories regarding the road’s re-opening.

Canlas said the DPWH will install a billboard at the Saytan area and at BGH about the road reopening. Signs will also be placed along “one-way” road sections and remove the markers after 6 a.m. on Monday to avoid confusion.

He said they will also deploy medical teams to attend to emergencies.

Canlas said the netting projects are expected to be completed by July but the construction and repair of the Camp 5 and Camp 1 bridges, respectively, are already complete.

He said they hope to inaugurate the bridge in time for President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit during the PMA graduation in May. (PNA)