For the past three years, the Kennon Road in Baguio City has been closed for reconstruction, which has cost more than P3 Billion, including annual repairs after typhoons and heavy rain.
Japanese and Chinese nationals residing in Baguio City and Benguet province are helping in the rehabilitation.
The Lion of Kennon, carved out of the Benguet mountains along the Kennnon Road, has long been associated with the city as a tourist attraction.
According to historical accounts, Kennon Road is one of the main routes to Baguio City, and it has been identified as the most expensive mountain route built and completed in 1905 for the American colonial government by local and foreign workers.
It takes about 50 minutes to drive from Rosario, La Union province through Kennon. It connects to the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx), reducing the time it takes to travel from Metro Manila to Baguio to under four hours.
In 2019, its closure was ordered to improve traffic flow along the route and to ensure the safety of motorists.
The Baguio district engineer Rene Zarate said, the budgetary allocations had been staggered, forcing contractors to work on these projects by stages from 2017 to 2021 taking it longer to finish.
Kennon would still need to be converted into an all-weather road once repairs are completed. It will be executed after the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) completes a feasibility study, Zarate said.