Improved acquisition of road right-of-way was among the key reasons behind the recent completion of the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar said Saturday.
In a statement, Villar commended the department’s task force responsible in speeding up the road right-of-way (RROW) acquisition for the elevated expressway that links the southern and northern parts of Metro Manila.
“We are now on the final stage of the Skyway Stage 3 Project that will link the southern and northern portions of Metro Manila by connecting SLEX and NLEX before the end of 2020. This would not be possible if not for the commitment of our DPWH ROW Task Force who have worked relentlessly with concessionaire CITRA Central Expressway Corporation (CCEC) to speed up delivery of needed ROW,” Villar said.
Right-of-way acquisition, the secretary stressed, is the most common cause of project delay, especially under public-private partnership. This prompted the creation of a task force for each flagship program and decentralization of ROW operations under Department Order No. 65, series of 2017.
According to Villar, prior to the issuance of DO 65, “ROW acquisition for the Skyway Stage 3 was sluggish at 8.64 percent, even though it had been 35 months since it commenced in 2015.”
The improved system, he said, allowed them to acquire 95 percent of ROW in two years and seven months.
It is instrumental in facilitating the ROW acquisition, particularly on the issue of National Grid Corporation (NGCP) and Meralco on the removal and relocation of their respective facilities, the secretary said.
As of September 2020, 40 out of the scheduled 47 service utilities of NGCP had been completely removed/relocated, five ongoing, and two for expropriation.
Out of the 1,312 Meralco utilities affected, 1,090 were completely removed or relocated, 24 ongoing, and 198 not to be relocated anymore, while 95.0 percent site possession had been delivered.
“We recognize the need to speed-up ROW acquisition for the timely realization of our Build, Build, Build program and with our formed ROW task forces, the public can expect more big-ticket projects to be completed in the coming months and years,” Villar said.
He bared that a fifth segment had been introduced at the north end of the project from Balintawak Cloverleaf at Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA). This will connect to the North Luzon Expressway Footbridge to avoid traffic congestion along A. Bonifacio Street and EDSA.