Major highways in Leyte closed due to landslides, road cuts

Politics

Landslides and road cuts have closed some major highways in Leyte Island as Tropical Depression Agaton continues to dump heavy rains in Eastern Visayas since the weekend.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) regional office reported on Tuesday that still impassable is the road section in Mailhi village in Baybay City as landslide debris blocked two lanes of the road.

In the same village, a portion of the road was cut off by a landslide.

The village is within the highway that links Tacloban City to Baybay City, a major commercial area on the central west coast of Leyte Island.

In Lunas village in Maasin City, Southern Leyte, the road was cut off by erosion, rendering the highways impassable to all types of vehicles.

The damaged road forms part of an alternative highway that connects Maasin City, the provincial capital to nearby Bontoc town.

“All maintenance crew and equipment have been deployed to make these road sections passable. Aside from the equipment of our district engineering offices, we also sent a hydraulic excavator and a prime mover with trailer to fast track clearing activities,” said DPWH regional information officer Cressida Paula Mangaporo in a phone interview.

Mangaporo said the road linking the towns of Silago, Southern Leyte, and Abuyog in Leyte is only passable to light vehicles due to landslides.

Two major landslides in Sogod, Southern Leyte closed the shortest route from Leyte to Southern Leyte, according to the official.

The road sections of Silago and Sogod are part of the nautical highway for motorists heading to Luzon from Mindanao or the other way around.

Mindanao-bound motorists are advised to take the longer Tacloban-Ormoc-Baybay route to get to ports in Southern Leyte.

“This is the safest route since clearing operations and immediate repair works are ongoing,” Mangaporo added.

Meanwhile, several local government units in Eastern Visayas have extended the work and class suspension directive due to heavy rains.

Since Sunday, local authorities have been issuing executive orders as the state weather bureau raised a tropical storm warning signal in the region.

Among the local governments that suspended work and classes on Tuesday are Tacloban City, Ormoc City, Baybay City, Carigara, Villaba, Palompon, and Kananga in Leyte; Naval in Biliran; Maasin City, Libagon, and Macrohon in Southern Leyte; and Motiong and Calbiga in Samar province.

Exempted from the work suspension are those involved in the maintenance of peace and order, disaster risk management, health and sanitation, and traffic management.

As of Tuesday morning, the center of Tropical Depression Agaton was estimated based on all available data in the vicinity of Marabut, Samar. It has maximum sustained winds of 45 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 75 kilometers per hour.

Moderate to heavy rains are expected over Eastern Visayas on Tuesday. All the six provinces in the region – Eastern Samar, Samar, Northern Samar, Biliran, Leyte, and Southern Leyte remained under tropical storm warning signal number 1.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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