“Coming soon: Solutions to Metro traffic” – SHARP EDGES by JAKE MADERAZO
“Carpocalypse” and “Carmaggedon” describe our day-to-day horrendous traffic experience in Metro Manila. Endless debates and cursing but questions persist: Are solutions forthcoming? Are they doable? When?
Last week, I asked a friend, a ranking official and old timer at the Department of Public Works and Highways, about the agency’s solutions to traffic. Surprisingly, he was ecstatic over what he called a “once in a lifetime opportunity” for government to really solve the problem. Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, he says, is overwhelmed but keeps a low profile and always gives credit to the President and not himself.
Actually, four major projects caught my attention and I think they would make commuters avoid Edsa and C5 soon.
U nder construction today is San Miguel’s 17.54-kilometer Skyway 3 from Balintawak, Quezon City to Buendia, Makati City via Araneta Avenue worth P26.5 billion. I was told the Buendia-Quirino Avenue/Nagtahan section will open in mid-2019.
Another project starting in July is Manny Pangilinan’s North-South Connector Road, an 8-km all-elevated four-lane toll expressway from North Luzon Expressway Segment 10, connecting C3 Road to PUP Sta. Mesa, Manila, before heading to Skyway 3 and the South Luzon Expressway. The P17.5 billion road will let vehicles from North Harbor pass through the heart of Manila, mostly over Philippine National Railway tracks, with interchanges on España Boulevard and Caloocan City toward Laguna.
The third project is by Citra Intercity Inc. (also San Miguel) for an elevated road network connecting Parañaque to Quezon City through Taguig, Taytay, Antipolo, Marikina and San Mateo. This is the Southeast Metro Manila Expressway (C6) project, a 34.024-km toll road worth P45 billion from Skyway FTI, Taguig City up to Batasan Complex, Quezon City. The groundbreaking ceremony was done in January.
The fourth is the interesting 26.84-km Del Pan Bridge-Marikina Expressway that will be built over Pasig River, passing through Manila, San Juan, Mandaluyong, Pasig and Marcos Highway in Marikina City. This project is now the subject of a feasibility study. It is being fast-tracked for implementation since there are no right-of-way issues.
Looking at these Metro Manila projects, congestion on Edsa and C5 may soon be reduced and possibly solved. But I am reminded of my conversation several months ago with SMC chair emeritus Eduardo Cojuangco on traffic issues, among other matters. He says that if this government is really serious in solving traffic on Edsa, his company can build a multilane overpass road over the whole stretch, from Balintawak to Roxas Boulevard, in just two years. Well, considering his track record and that of my good friend, business wizard Ramon Ang, I would not doubt it. Question is, will President Duterte accept their suggestion?
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