Landslide-hit Eastern Samar road now open to traffic

The Wright-Taft road section in Eastern Samar is now open to all types of vehicles after a 13-day closure due to a series of rain-induced landslides, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) reported on Tuesday.

The road portion in Binaloan village in Taft town officially opened on Monday noon, but will be automatically closed from 5 p.m. to 6 a.m. every day and during heavy rains for safety reasons, said Manolo Rojas, DPWH Eastern Samar district engineer, in a press statement sent to reporters.

During the road closure, motorists were advised to use the alternate route Buenavista-Lawaan-Marabut Road to get to Borongan City and the northern part of Eastern Samar.

We ask for the cooperation and understanding of the public. We are doing our best to completely clear the road from debris. We also suspend clearing operations during heavy rainfall to ensure the safety of our personnel, Rojas said.

On Jan. 3, continuous rainfall triggered three landslides in the said road portion that partially buried two vehicles and blocking the highway. It was followed by another landslide estimated at 15,000 cubic meters after four days.

No one was hurt in the said incident as the vehicles' passengers were able to get off before part of the mountain started eroding.

We appreciate the help of our partners both in the public and private sectors. We also thanked the Army for the 24/7 security service to our field workers and equipment on-site, Rojas said.

As an immediate solution to the problem, the department is already preparing the plans, program of works, and other supporting documents for the calamity fund request to build slope protection.

Rojas said a viaduct or rerouting road is needed as a long-term solution to avoid future road closure due to landslide.

The DPWH has coordinated with other government agencies and local government units to boost manpower and equipment and speed up the clearing operations in the area.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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