Isabela road closed due to safety concerns amid rehabilitation works
CAGAYAN Philippines – The provincial government of Isabela has ordered the temporary closure of the Ilagan to Divilacan road, where it is undertaking a P2.28-billion rehabilitation project that would speed up transportation between inland and coastal towns in the province.
Isabela Governor Faustino Dy III cited vehicular mishaps and road safety problems in ordering the road closure.
Dy said the accidents and problems are "due to overzealous motorists who have attempted to use the road as means to reach the municipalities of Divilacan and Maconacon, as test sites for their all-terrain vehicles, or to ferry illegally harvested rattan and other products."
The governor added that "unplanned, unsolicited, and undesirable" activities along and around the road may pose risks and other problems to the project, project contractors, and the motorists themselves.
He said the road is not yet "prepared to accommodate vehicles other than those used in the project" and cited the ongoing construction of certain bridges and road sections.
Motorcyles ferrying people to and from Divilacan, however, are allowed to use to road.
The 82-kilometer all-weather road project was originally targeted to begin in 2012 and completed this year, but work on the project only began in March 2016.
In justifying the road project, the provincial government cited the "absence of access from inland Isabela to coastal Isabela” that deprived coastal towns of affordable transportation, and speedy delivery of government services especially in times of calamity.
The road project – stretching from Barangay Sindon Bayabo in Ilagan to Barangay Dicatian in Divilacan – is also seen to reduce poverty and improve the capability of the government in environmental project and conservation.
The project seeks to speed up travel time from Ilagan to Divilacan and neighboring coastal towns, which used to be accessible only by boat from Santa Ana town in Cagayan province, by helicopter, and through Aurora province roads.
Environment advocates had opposed the project, citing its potential impact on the protected Sierra Madre, where the road passes through. – Rappler.com