by Dhale Angelo D. Santos and Nigel Q. Lutao, AUGUST 2022
It is no surprise that tropical cyclones habitually enter and ravage our country. According to PAGASA’s tropical cyclone information report, the Southeast Asian region is expected to experience an average of 20 tropical cyclones from July to October of 2022 where in 8-9 of which is predicted to make direct landfall on Philippine shores. We have already seen the devastating aftermath of super typhoon Odette that made landfall last December 2021 killing around 405 people, displacing nearly 3 million people, and causing an overall damage to infrastructure that costs an estimate of 28 billion pesos. There is no question towards the destruction and innate hazards a typhoon can bring to our country and its people. What then does our asset management team assigned to all our expressways do in order to prepare for such calamities both through preventive and reactive means?
The asset management team has multiple plans for counteracting the predicted hazards a typhoon usually brings. Generally, these plans start with the routine checking of existing necessary infrastructures and equipment. Lights such as the median lighting, high mast lighting and even the emergency lights in our facilities are all checked and tested regularly especially right before the predicted landfall of typhoons. This is also true for our generator sets that function as emergency energy supplies for all our toll plazas and facilities found on our expressways. Gutters, downspouts, and highway drainage canals are regularly cleared of any debris or buildup of siltation that can block the flow of flood waters which if left unchecked will lessen the traction of vehicles going through our expressways.
After all the necessary checks, resupplying and stockpiling of certain items are done to prepare for the incoming typhoon. Such items include the fuel for generator sets, for chainsaws for debris clearing, pumps for flood water removal, and gas for emergency vehicles that will be used to go to sudden emergency situations. CALAX in particular has also implemented the use of various types of slope protection in order to prevent or at the very least lessen the occurrences of landslides on our expressways. Examples of these types of slope protection include application of Shotcrete which is the process of spraying liquid concrete to the surfaces of steep slopes, application of geotextiles which involves specialized wrapping material that is overlaid on unstable slopes, and soil nailing which literally inserts large steel nails attached to geotextiles onto the slopes of the CALAX expressway. Loose signs, tarpaulins, overgrown trees, and other expressway objects that can easily become dangerous flying debris during typhoons are also removed immediately for the increased safety of not only the motorists, but also the on-site traffic personnel.
Lastly, in the case of an accident, road crash or any other emergency, motorists can rest assured that 24/7 on-site personnel are always ready and deployed in order to attend to any hazardous scenario. Emergency call boxes are also installed throughout our expressways which can be used to instantly communicate with our traffic control personnel if the need arises. For other situations without emergency call boxes, one can easily call for assistance on all our expressways with the emergency hotline: (02) 1-35000.
About the writer:
Dhale Angelo D. Santos. A licensed Electrical Engineer who discovered writing as his unveiled passion to share his engineering skills and knowledge in a creative way.
Nigel Q. Lutao. Always balancing a firm view on reality with a hint of carefree idealism, I constantly try to convey the harsh truths while reaffirming the hope of a kinder and brighter future.