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PIA Press Release

Commentary: Raising the road

By Behn Fer. Hortaleza, Jr.

Dagupan City (29 August) -- Far too long have the residents of Arellano Street, especially the Division or Village in Dagupan been cursing their fate. Just a little rain and rise in tide and their little place on earth gets flooded.

It had been the same situation in that area near Pedrito's Restaurant in Tapuac going to Lucao some years back. When the heavens open with some rain, the road instantly becomes a creek and motorists have to slow down, creating monstrous traffic bottlenecks.

The solution, according to District Engineer Rudy Dion whom we bumped into at former Speaker JDV's Binloc house a couple of weeks back is road elevation or road raising and sound drainage. He's quite sure about it, it's been done in Tapuac and despite the skepticism of many that the neighboring residential area could get flooded as a result of the road raising, nothing of the sort happened till now—to the great relief of Lyceum University's prexy Gonz Duque, who lives in that once accursed area. Or, so we're told.

How about doing a repeat miracle in Arellano, congressman Joe, Mayor Al and Engr. Dion, sirs?

There's even water flooding the right side of the downtown area, A.B. Fernandez Ave. when the tidal water rises (which is as often as twice a month) to the consternation of commercial stores situated on that side. This had been so since these areas sank by a few centimeters after the 1990 earthquake liquefaction phenomenon, but for some still unknown and therefore doubly bothersome reason, is now more pronounced or worse.

The flooding of course comes from the Pantal river backflowing from drainage canals. You all know already of course that Dagupan is one meter below sea level—so it's not really hard to figure that one out.

This one will require some real long and hard engineering and hydrological study to at least minimize the flooding, I guess, because you can't just raise the road without somehow "damaging" the presentation of the city's principal street and downtown area.

Mayor Al himself in his recent powwow with local media at his Bacayao Norte hideaway, said, "diking" the city as they did in other cities abroad similarly traversed by rivers could be a solution although the cost-benefit ratio somehow would not be that acceptable, given our economic status. We agree.

The easier way of course is to live with the situation—and make the tidal flooding or generally, our river-locked situation turn to our advantage he says. How to do that? You'd have to engage the mayor in a spirited conversation to appreciate his vision. (PIA) [top]

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