Still impassable

Agencies yet to decide on when to open road

The city government has recommended the continuation of the road closure of Diversion Road near Shrine Hills.

This developed as representatives from the City Transport and Traffic Management Office (CTTMO), the City Engineer’s Office (CEO), and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), among others, were determining information such as the revised traffic schemes for today.

The meeting was ongoing as of press time, with initial announcements to be made by the end of the day.

The DPWH initially said it was rushing to complete work on a portion of the Shrine Hills after traffic was clogged throughout the day since Friday morning.

Dean Ortiz, DPWH spokesperson, in an interview, said the works could not be completed yesterday.

In a related development, City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office action officer Rodrigo Bustillo said 14 families have been sheltered at the City Social Services and Development Office (CSSDO) evacuation building at Brgy. Los Amigos.

The other residents have decided to stay with relatives as around 40 families were evacuated from the danger zone since Friday morning.

Landslides last Friday forced the city to close down a portion of the Diversion Road, leading to major traffic in large parts of the city starting Friday night.

According to the DPWH, contractors have hauled off s about 40,000 cubic meters of soil and rock from the landslides.

Last week, the City Information Office advised motorists passing through the Diversion Road to avoid it and take alternate routes.

For vehicles from the northern portion of the city, the alternate route is via Sasa-R. Castillo-Quimpo Boulevard-MacArthur Highway.

Motorists coming from the south were advised to take MacArthur Highway.

Heavy rains, as well as engineering backfilling uphill, led to the cracking of the limestone hill actually protected by law as an ecological subzone in an area generally known as the Shrine Hills.

The city government also closed off the portion of the Diversion Road from Maa to Matina Pangi to heavy vehicles such as trucks, buses, and other heavy vehicles to avoid aggravating the landslides.

“Avoid Diversion Road,” the CIO said in an advisory. “It will be opened when it is already safe.”

As early as 6 p.m. last Friday, the DPWH and the local government had already recommended the closure of the road from the junction of Shrine Hills to the junction of Matina Pangi to all types of vehicles.

However, ambulances, fire trucks, and other emergency vehicles were given access to the road in case of emergencies.

Vehicles headed to Mintal tried to avoid MacArthur Highway either via Ecoland or via Matina Pangi-Catalunan Grande-Mintal.

Meanwhile, vehicles headed to Toril used the Magtuod-Tugbok-Toril route.

Residents living in the Matina area were left with little choice but endure the hours-long traffic which eased up around dawn of Saturday.

Jeepney drivers reported traveling short distances such as Matina to Ulas in two hours instead of the usual 30 to 40 minutes during Saturday night’s rush hour.

However, traffic was relatively smoother compared with Friday’s situation.

In a separate interview, Ret. Col. Dionisio Abude, head of the City Transport and Traffic Management Office (CTTMO) said that they may add another traffic scheme to lessen the traffic today. Yas D. Ocampo and By Rhoda Grace B. Saron