Duterte’s Solution to EDSA traffic 



Anna Mae Yu Lamentillo Anna Mae Yu Lamentillo

Construction of Epifanio de Los Santos Avenue, more popularly known as EDSA, started in the 1930s. Initially, the project, which was named North-South Circumferential Road, only spanned from North Luzon Expressway to Magallanes Interchange. It was only in the 1960’s that EDSA was extended to Taft, Roxas Boulevard and Caloocan.

Today, EDSA, the 23.8 km circumferential highway, has become a source of frustration. The project which was originally intended to accommodate a maximum capacity of 288,00 vehicles a day — is being used by 402,000 vehicles. In other words, EDSA has exceeded its capacity by about 39%.

In 2012, the Philippines lost P2.4 billion a day due to Metro Manila traffic. Six years after, a study conducted by Japan International Cooperation Agency said the number had gone up to P3.5 billion a day due to traffic congestion in Metro Manila. Now, road usage in Metro Manila is at about 13.4 million trips per day and could go as high as 16.1 million in 17 years. Economic losses could also rise up to P5.4 billion in 2035 without any infrastructure interventions.

From the onset of the administration, President Rodrigo Duterte and Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar has been working on a plan to decongest EDSA through the “Build, Build, Build” program.

The EDSA Decongestion Program which is composed of 23 projects amounting to over 383 Billion pesos is well underway. According to Secretary Villar — he is confident that President Duterte’s promise of decongesting EDSA will be delivered before the end of his term.

This year, major road and bridge projects will be completed including the NLEX Harbor Link, R-10 Exit Ramp; Mindanao Avenue Extension Segment 2C; Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3; Fort Bonifacio-Nichols Road (Lawton Avenue) Widening; and the Bonifacio Global City-Ortigas Center Link Road Project.

The R-10 Exit Ramp of NLEX Harbor Link is a 2.6km, 4-lane elevated ramp extending NLEX Harbor Link Segment 10 to Radial Road 10 using C-3 road, effectively cutting travel time from Quezon City to Manila from 2 hours to only 20 to 30 minutes.

The Mindanao Avenue Extension is a 3.2 km, 4 lane divided highway from NLEX to Gen. Luis Avenue, connecting the areas of Valenzuela, North Caloocan and NLEX. When completed, travel time between Quirino Highway and General Luis road will be reduced from 1 hour and 30 minutes to only 20 minutes.

The Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 Project (MMSS3) is an 18.30 km elevated expressway spanning from Buendia in Makati City to the North Luzon Expressway in Balintawak, Quezon City. The project is expected to decongest Metro Manila by at least 55,000 vehicles daily and reduce travel time from Makati to Quezon City from 2 hours to only 15 to 20 minutes.

Widening of the 3.3 km Fort Bonifacio - Nichols Field Road from four lanes to six lanes will also be completed in 2020. It is expected to complement the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) - Ortigas Centre Link Road Project, which effectively connects BGC and Ortigas Central Business within 12 minutes. The project is composed of the Sta. Monica-Lawton Bridge, a 440 meter four lane bridge across Pasig River connecting Lawton Avenue in Makati City and Santa Monica St. in Pasig City, and the Lawton Avenue - Global City Viaduct, a 565 meter four lane viaduct structure traversing Lawton Avenue onwards to the entrance of BGC.

DPWH is also set to begin civil works on the following projects this year: NLEX Harbor Link Segment 2 from Mindanao Avenue to Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City; the Metro Manila Priority Bridges Seismic Improvement Project covering the retrofitting of Guadalupe and Lambingan Bridges; and the Pasig River & Manggahan Floodway Bridges Construction Project inclusive of five (5) bridges namely: North & South Harbor Bridge, Palanca-Villegas Bridge, Blumentritt-Antipolo Bridge, and Beata-Manalo Bridge crossing Pasig River, the Eastbank-Westbank Bridge 2 crossing Manggahan Floodway.