By Genalyn Kabiling
The public may travel between Makati City to Cubao, Quezon City in five minutes as promised by President Duterte “very soon” amid the imminent completion of major infrastructure projects, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar said Wednesday.
According to Villar, EDSA congestion will be reduced by 20 to 30 percent in the second half of the year allowing faster mobility of people and goods.
He said Metro Manila Skyway-Stage 3 project and the North Luzon Expressway Harbor Link R-10 Exit Ramp are expected to be delivered this year to help improve traffic flow in Metro Manila. The two road projects are included in the P384-billion EDSA decongestion program of the Duterte administration.
“The decongestion of EDSA is inevitable,” Villar said during a Palace press briefing.
“We are talking of point-to-point travel from Makati to Quezon City. If you are asking me, yes we can do it. The five minute-travel from Makati to Quezon City is possible,” he said in Filipino.
Asked if such reduced travel time can be attained within the year, Villar said: “Yes.”
In line with President Duterte’s plan to improve the road network in Metro Manila, Villa said the Metro Manila skyway, a 18.3 kilometer elevated expressway from Buendia, Makati City to the North Luzon Expressway in Balintawak, will be completed by April.
Once completed, he said the skyway is expected to reduce the travel time from Buendia to Balintawak to 15 to 20 minutes from two hours. He said the road toll may likely be around P4 to P5 per kilometer.
“By April of this year, 100,000 cars will be relieved from EDSA. The capacity of EDSA is 280,000. The volume of traffic today is 400,000. To return EDSA to its original capacity, we must reduce traffic by 120,000 cars,” he said.
Another major project to ease EDSA traffic is North Luzon Expressway Harbor Link R-10 Exit Ramp.
The project involving 2.6 kilometer elevated ramp extending NLEX Harbor Link Segment 10 exit to Radial Road 10 will be completed this March. The travel time from port area to NLEX will be slashed to 10 minutes from one hour and 30 minutes. “We expect 30,000 vehicles a day mostly trucks that will pass NLEX Harbor Link,” he added.
The NLEX-SLEX connector road will also help reduce travel time to 20 minutes from two hours. The project will be delivered by 2021, Villar said.
Other pending EDSA decongestion projects are NLEX Harbor Link Segment 8.2, Mindanao Avenue Extension (Segment 2C), Southeast Metro Manila Expressway C-6 (Phase 1), Manila Cavite Toll Expressway Project, C5 South Link Expressway, and Fort Bonifacio-Nichols Field Road.
Villar noted that the North Luzon expressway (NLEX) Harbor Link Segment 10, Radial Road 10, Samar Street project, Ninoy Aquino International Airport expressway phase 11 have already been completed.
The bridges that will help ease EDSA traffic are the Bonifacio Global City-Ortigas Center Link Road Project, Binondo-Intramuros Bridge, Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge, Pasig River & Manggahan Floodway Bridges Construction Project (3 bridges) and Marikina River Bridges Construction Project (3 bridges).
Villar said they will be able to deliver the BGC bridge, Estrella-Pantaleon bridge, and Bindondo-Intramuros bridge by next year.
Villar expressed confidence the administration could bring back EDSA to its original capacity of 288,000 cars a day. He said there will be “continuous improvement” of EDSA situation as more projects will be completed in the coming years.
“Starting this year, we will see every year there will be drastic improvement of EDSA,” he said.
“We are confident that by the end of the term of the President, EDSA will be back to its original capacity,” he added.
In March 2019, the President said travel between Cubao to Makati will soon be reduced to five minutes amid the government’s ongoing transport infrastructure projects such as elevated expressways in Metro Manila.
The EDSA decongestion program involves the construction and rehabilitation of 13 roads/expressways and 10 bridges to provide alternate links between major road and increase number of usable roads.