CAGAYAN, Philippines – Thousands of passengers traveling between Cagayan Valley and Manila were left stranded after a cargo truck carrying tons of rice tilted along a main road on Friday, May 27, causing traffic buildup.
Several cargo trucks and a passenger bus also reportedly stalled.
The gridlock began from Cordon town in Isabela province to Carranglan town in Nueva Ecija, a 137-kilometer stretch.
Police have imposed a one-way traffic scheme along the southbound lane, and advised commuters to take the Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya-Benguet road to avoid heavy traffic, the government-run Philippine Information Agency reported.
Meanwhile, police from Sta Fe town in Nueva VIzcaya said that road repairs and heavy rain also added to the traffic.
The Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management of Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya, closed the southbound lane for hours on Friday to allow northbound vehicles to pass through while clearing operations were being conducted.
Commuters expressed their frustrations on social media, some calling the experience as their “worst road mess.”
Some said that the usual 12-hour ride from Cagayan to Manila became a 25-hour ordeal.
Photos posted online showed some vendors riding a motorcycle to sell cup noodles to stranded passengers.
Among the stranded commuters was Cagayan Provincial Board Member Mila Lauigan.
“I saw the culprit. A Florida bus and another delivery truck a few meters behind it suffered mechanical failure….We stopped intermittently,” Lauigan said.
To improve traffic flow, Lauigan suggested that the national government devise a railroad system for the transport of cargo and goods, so that the roads will be devoted for the commuting public.
Rhona Macasaet said they were at a “complete standstill” for almost 9 hours.
“There was tremendous traffic at Nueva Vizcaya. We were stuck there for almost 12 hours….9 hours complete standstill and the rest of the [time], [we were] running at 10 to 15 km/h. As early as now, look for options or alternate routes to get to your destination,” Macasaet said.
Meanwhile, some blamed the “irresponsible and undisciplined” drivers.
Charmaine Calimlim said some big trucks could not pass through because of counter-flowing vehicles, worsening the traffic flow.
Some affected motorists advised those who plan to take the same route to have a “full tank of patience.” – Rappler.com