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Road safety a priority in Davao traffic closure

By: Yas D. Ocampo

DAVAO CITY – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said that it will need five more days to determine if the portion of the Shrine Hills will be opened to the public, days after the closure of the old dumpsite area which caused heavy traffic all over the city.

Engr. Michael dela Vega, project designer at the DPWH, told the city council here that it would be possible to declare the area safe in the next five days for all types of vehicles.

Yesterday, the northbound portion of the Diversion Road was opened to traffic but only from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m., after which, the scraping and strengthening of the slopes were continued by DPWH contractors at the project site.

The DPWH is conducting a road widening project in the area.

Dela Vega, along with other officials from the DPWH here, were invited by the City Council to seek explanations on the status of the construction work at the Shrine.

Geologists from both the DPWH and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau agree that the landslide that occurred this month was a combination of various factors, including the road work of the DPWH.

However, one major factor of the landslide was the rerouting of a spring towards the construction site, which led to the saturation of water.

Engr. Beverly Mae Brebante, officer in charge at the MGB’s geosciences division, added that there was a scraping of the lateral support of the hill, which also added to the reduction of the hill’s ability to carry the weight of that portion of the hill.

Moreover, the DPWH’s own geologist Engr. Thea Shaira Mae V. Peguit, said that the construction sites uphill were not only located in an area with a crack, it was also built on a previous landslide or an escarpment.

Brebante said that the MGB had conducted a detailed geological study of the whole Shrine Hills, with that portion of the hills identified as highly susceptible.

The results were presented in 2011.