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Tag Archives: highways
Here’s one of those quick shares that I usually post here. I am a bit of a history buff and mixing that with transport will likely lead to a post like this. Here is a short article about an event in the history of the US Army that happened 100 years ago:
email@example.com (2019) Celebrating Highway History: The US Army’s 1919 Cross-Country Convoy, aashto.org, https://aashtojournal.org/2019/07/12/celebrating-highway-history-the-u-s-armys-1919-cross-country-convoy/ [Last accessed: July 12, 2019]
The article was particularly interesting for me because of two items: the road conditions and the man behind the US inter-state highway system. It took them a little over 2 months to cross the continental US because of poor road conditions. Many people have no sense of history and appreciation of what has been accomplished over the years and how difficult it was to travel at the time. I haven’t done the cross country trip but I have close friends who’ve done it and are thankful for the generally good roads they could use for the experiential road trip. Meanwhile, the person in the article – then Lt. Col. Dwight D. Eisenhower – is a man who made his mark in history at first as the Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in the European Theater in World War 2, who would later on become President of the US. I read elsewhere that the US interstate highway system was designed so aircraft may use them as runways in cases when the US were at war and the enemy had bombed their airports and airfields (just like what the Japanese did in the Pacific).
Do we have similar accounts for our roads and bridges in the Philippines? Were there key persons who may or may not be larger than life figures instrumental in developing our road infrastructure with their vision and leadership (Marcos doesn’t count because of his bogus military record and corrupt regime)? It would be nice to compile these and perhaps it should be a collaboration between the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the National Historical Commission (NHC). They could even get the history departments of local universities involved for us to understand the evolution of transportation in this country.
We start the month of March with a compilation of photos of vertical curves (mostly sags). These were taken along the Andaya Highway, which serves as the main bypass road in Camarines that allows travellers to bypass, for example, Daet.
These photos do not have captions and I leave it to my readers to have an appreciation of the features of these sections. These include wide carriageways with paved shoulders. There are also sections that have no shoulders. For most photos, the pavement appears to be in good condition. However, the same cannot be said for much of the highway, sections of which are being rehabilitated along with several bridges.
I recently featured photos of the old zigzag road along the Pan Philippine Highway that is more popularly known as the “Bitukang Manok”. Those photos were taken on an early morning while we were on our way to Bicol earlier this month. Following are photos of the old zigzag road taken on the afternoon of our return trip to Manila.
Crossroads – at the intersection at the southern end where travellers decide whether to take the Bitukang Manok or the newer and easier bypass road
The sign states: Vehicles with 6 or more wheels are prohibited from using the old zig-zag road.
Sign for the Quezon National Forest Park – this designation is attributed to a former President and local congressman
Here’s a photo of one of the more challenging sections. A team of flagmen manage traffic by giving turns to either direction, ensuring slower speeds and wider turning at the hairpin curve. Travelers often toss coins as a token of gratitude for these flagmen who man this challenging section of the national highway 24 hours/day.
The barriers and signs along Bitukang Manok have been upgraded and are well-maintained.
Approach to the northern end of the old zigzag road
Directional sign at the other end of Bitukang Manok showing the options for travellers and another advisory stating the prohibition of large vehicles along the old zigzag road.
I woke up from a long nap just before we entered a major zigzag section of the Pan Philippine Highway that is more popularly known as the “Bitukang Manok”. That literally translates to “chicken innards or intestines”, which is how many travellers would describe the alignment of this section of the national highway network. We decided to take the “old zigzag road” instead of the “new diversion road” since the latter is known to be already congested especially as trucks and buses take this road instead of the zigzag.
Expectedly, the road offered all kinds of curves and grades throughout. I was glad to see relatively new barriers already installed or constructed along the entire length of Bitukang Manok.
Here is a particularly challenging section combining sharp hairpin curves with steep inclines.
We caught up with this rider along a relatively straight and level segment of the road
There are flagmen strategically deployed along the most difficult parts of the road including this one that might lead inexperienced or erring drivers to drive/ride straight off a cliff.
Here’s another hairpin curve; this time on the way down from the mountain.
The final turn of the road before it merged with the diversion road
Sign at the other end of the road showing travellers the divergence of the national highway into the “old zigzag road” and the “new diversion road”. Notice the platoon of southbound trucks at right.
I remember Bitukang Manok as a dreaded section among travellers before not just from the safety viewpoint but also because many can get sick (e.g., motion sickness that may result into throwing up) going through the section especially if the driver is not as smooth in manoeuvring the vehicle through the zigzags. There were also long distance bicycle races before where the Bitukang Manok featured as the main challenge to the best cyclists and the winner of that leg of the race was pronounced as “king of the mountain”.
The recent news about the groundbreaking for the C-6 expressway led some people to this site and looking for information on C-6. Here are more photos I took last month (January 2018):
The future northbound lanes of C-6 is currently under rehabilitation and are being upgraded to Portland cement Concrete Pavement (PCCP). The new southbound lanes currently serve the two-way traffic.
The sign is an old one and perhaps still in use as a barrier more than for information
You see a lot of people jogging, walking and cycling along the finished road. It shows the demand for spaces for such activities, including recreation, and a similar situation may be observed along C5 before and along the perimeter of Libingan ng mga Bayani where a lot of people do exercises and other activities along road sections that are closed to vehicular traffic.
With one lane completed the second lane is prepared for pouring of concrete. You can see the formworks along the median.
Other sections have yet to be prepared for concreting but have been stripped of the old pavement (Asphalt Concrete pavement or ACP).
What you see here at right is the compacted base/sub-base layer. The forms have not been installed yet.
Backhoe and roller at the worksite.
A grader in action.
I will post more photos later from the next time I pass by the area. From what I’ve hear so far, traffic has eased along the expanded Barkadahan Bridge but there are still bottlenecks to address along this alternative route. There will also be a need to have a higher capacity, less friction connection between C-6 and C-5 as traffic along C-6 increases and it’s become quite obvious that Taguig’s narrow streets cannot handle this increasing travel demand between the two highways. It makes sense to have a higher quality, limited access road for this purpose since Taguig roads are already congested and through traffic poses a safety hazard to the residential areas where vehicles travel through.
I have not used Circumferential Road 6 in a while. And so a couple of weeks ago, I was happy to see that work has resumed on the sections at Lupang Arenda in Taytay, Rizal, which is also known as Sampaguita Street. Here are some photos of the wide C-6 section. I guess there’s an opportunity here to have service roads on either side of the highway in order to manage/control local traffic. C-6, after all, is a highway and is designed for typical national highway speeds (i.e., 60 kph). The adjacent land use, however, requires slower traffic mainly due to safety concerns.
Cordoned-off section where a contractor is preparing the sub-base prior to placing the steel reinforcement and pouring concrete
Another photo of the section showing form works for the slab. Note the parked vehicles along the side on the left.
Some sections are already flooded from the heavy rains
The completed section towards Nagpayong, Pasig is a wide 4 lanes. At left is a nice view of the Laguna de Bai.
Section to Nagpayong near the boundary of Taytay, Rizal and Pasig City.
That’s a habal-habal (motorcycle taxi) terminal on the left and in front of a parked jeepney.
Two very important things about C-6 though. One concerns the Barkadahan Bridge over the Manggahan Floodway, which is too narrow for the traffic that cross it. There’s a new bridge beside it that seems to be taking too long to build. And then there’s the long stretch from Nagpayong, Pasig to Lower Bicutan, Taguig which remain in bad condition. The new section along the lakeside is already usable for Pasig-bound traffic but needs to be allowed to carry two-way traffic for the older section to be rehabilitated. C-6 is becoming a major alternative route for a lot of travelers from Rizal to and from Makati and Taguig (esp. BGC). It needs to be improved immediately as it can help decongest the Ortigas Ave. – C5 route that most Rizalenos use to go to their workplaces.
There are hazardous worksites along Sumulong Highway. These are related to current drainage works and construction of pedestrian facilities (sidewalks) along the highway. Travelers can see the steel reinforcing bars (rebars) sticking out and posing risks to road users. Following are some photos we took as we traversed the stretch near La Montana, Palos Verdes and Cavaliers Village.
Highway drainage works along Sumulong Highway
Steel reinforcing bars sticking out of the drainage works along the Masinag-bound side of Sumulong Highway.
More hazardous worksites
These pose dangers to most road users and especially motorcyclists and cyclists who may experience a spill that can lead to riders being impaled by the rebars. The contractor definitely is violating safety codes in as far as construction sites are concerned and these are in plain view of the public. The DPWH as well as the local government of Antipolo City should act immediately and decisively in order to prevent untoward incidents concerning such worksites. There should be measures such as physical barriers that would protect road users against such hazards. There are currently none.
I had not been to Baguio City for quite some time until June of 2016 (last year). And so I took a lot of photos of the roads between Metro Manila and Baguio including the three expressways (NLEX, SCTEX and TPLEX) and Marcos Highway. I have only posted photos of Marcos Highway ( a lot of them) and haven’t come to downloading photos of TPLEX that I have taken during my first time along the entire stretch at the time. To sort of make up for the backlog, I am posting the following photos of Kennon Road that I took almost 7 months ago. I assume most if not all roadworks along Kennon Road that some of the following photos show are already completed. I will no longer write captions for each of the photos but there are many landmarks shown here that can help the reader in his/her sense of direction and orientation. The following photos are of Kennon Road from Rosario, La Union to Baguio.
More photos from that June 2016 trip soon…
Still on Marcos Highway, the following photos complete this feature from my most recent trip to a city dubbed as the summer capital of the Philippines. This is the third part of the series on this major road to/from Baguio City, and sections pretty much show very similar characteristics as the previous ones in the preceding posts. Its been a while since the Part 2 of this series and since then, an additional section of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) has been opened further cutting down travel time between Manila and Baguio to 4 hours.
The approach to this curve reveals the uneven terrain on which the road was built.
These row houses and their driveways seem too close to the road
That’s a poorly placed driveway right in the middle of the curve
Many motorists tend to overtake slower moving vehicles via the opposing traffic lane. Here is a bus undertaking a passing maneuver at a curve!
Rockslide – these are frequent along mountain roads such as Marcos Highway. They are even more frequent along Kennon Road and Naguilian Highway.
Yet another section this time showing a reverse curve.
Here are a few more of the big bikes we encountered on our trip down from Baguio. These are of the same group of bikers in Parts 1 and 2.
Many sections of Marcos Highway have excellent sight distance and have usable, paved shoulders.
There is significant truck traffic along Marcos Highway. These, especially the loaded ones, often slow down traffic. In certain cases, trucks form platoons making it difficult to pass them.
I was not surprised to see a school along the highway since there are many communities along the road. This is a good example of standard signs and markings including a pedestrian crossing.
The curve is not a good location for a home.
The pavement at this section is intriguing as the road seems to have had a different orientation in the past. I suspect this was formerly a paved bay (for emergency stops or for loading/unloading passengers) in what used to be an unpaved shoulder.
The section shows also what looks like a bay along the inner (left in the photo) side of the highway. Note that the shoulder is rather narrow along the ridge-side (right).
Curve sections like this offer picturesque views but are actually are treacherous. The barriers are supposed to prevent vehicles from ‘flying’ out of the highway. Their designs should arrest large, heavy vehicles that may lose control and collide with the barriers.
Marcos Highway offers many breathtaking views and excellent sight distance along many portions.
This is the final stretch of Marcos Highway that terminates at the intersection with the Manila North Road, which is part of AH-26.
To open September, I continue on the feature on Marcos Highway. Following are more photos I took on our way back to Manila from a short vacation in Baguio.
Many sections of Marcos Highway have some form of protection against landslides or rock slides. Note the concrete faces fences along the left in the photo.
There are many structures along the highway including houses and stores
The mountain limits sight distance along curves like this.
We encountered this group of motorcyclists heading up to Baguio on what appeared to be what is termed as “big bikes”, that typically are the more expensive ones, too. Other photos in this series will show these motorcycles. I lost count of them while we were traveling the opposite direction.
This seems to be a popular stop for hungry travelers. The location though and its driveway are not at all desirable from the highway engineering perspective.
Combination of signs to guide motorists along this sharp curve.
Curved sections like this one offer breathtaking views of the mountains.
Shoulders may function as space for emergency stops including for breakdowns or changing tires. Full shoulders allow for stopped vehicles to be completely clear of the traveled way. That is, they don’t pose as obstacles that traffic would need to evade.
More examples of poorly located establishments along a curve
The road seems to disappear in the mountains
Conspicuous location for a religious site along the highway
More motorcyclists and their big bikes
Barriers along both side of the highway seem sturdy enough to keep vehicles from flying off the road in case their drivers/riders lose control. This section offers enough to satisfy sight distance requirements and noticeably does not feature double yellows like the other photos in this post.
A residential community along the highway including this big house just clear of the shoulder.
Another community including a home atop the mountain. The barriers appear to be newly constructed along with the PCC paved shoulders. These would have to be painted for them to be visible to motorists especially at night-time or when visibility is poor.
More photos of Marcos Highway soon!