One person was killed while at least four others were injured when a steel girder of the Skyway extension project collapsed in Bgy. Cupang, Muntinlupa Saturday morning.
In a statement, EEI Corp., the contractor of the Skyway extension project, said at about 8:50 a.m on Nov. 21, “a crane that was being positioned for its next task tilted and fell on the girder spanning the two posts of the north-bound Skyway extension project.” The incident happened along the East Service Road in Bgy. Cupang, Muntinlupa.
The girder fell on the vehicles below and killed at least one person and injured at least four others, the contractor said. They were rushed by ambulances from the Skyway O&M Corp. and EEI to various hospitals.
Among those taken to the Asian Hospital and Medical Center in Alabang were Angelito Manalo, 30, of San Miguel, Pasig, and John Paul Gonzales, 27, of San Pedro, Laguna, Muntinlupa City officials told Manila Bulletin.
“We are monitoring the progress of the injured and are trying to get in touch with their next of kin for proper coordination and to extend any assistance they may need,” EEI said.
“We deeply regret this unfortunate accident and assure a full and thorough investigation. Our thoughts and concern are with the victims and we will make sure they will get all the help they need. Their welfare is our priority.”
“Our hearts and prayers go with the affected families. This is an unfortunate and heart-breaking accident that must not happen again. We will review immediately our safety and operating protocols as we build a strategic infrastructure for the public’s convenience,” EEI added.
A team from the Muntinlupa City Department of Disaster Resilience and Management (MCDDRM) rushed to the area to help following the incident.
Six vehicles were damaged — a taxi, an L300 van, a, SUV and three motorcycles, according to Danidon Nolasco, head of the Muntinlupa Traffic Management Bureau (MTMB).
The MTMB closed the northbound and southbound lanes of the East Service Road from Alabang to Sucat to traffic. Motorists can use the following alternate routes: West Service Road, Alabang-Zapote Road, M.L. Quezon (Baybayin) and South Luzon Expressway (SLEX).
San Miguel Corporation said that, “after initial assessment, this unfortunate incident sets back the completion of the Skyway Extension Project. From the December 2020 deadline, target completion is now February 2021.”
Last month, SMC President Ramon S. Ang said the Northbound section of the Skyway Extension project is now 70 per cent done and on-schedule to be finished by year-end.
The SMC-funded P10 billion Skyway extension project will extend the Skyway from Susana Heights on the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) to Sucat and back, providing direct access to the elevated section of the Skyway.
It will connect the SLEX and the Muntinlupa Cavite Expressway (MCX) to the Skyway at Susanna Heights, bypassing Alabang to make travel from south to north via the Skyway System seamless and shorter.
“We are on track to deliver the northbound section of the Skyway Extension project by December, and with this, motorists from the south can easily access Makati, Manila, San Juan, Quezon City, and the North Luzon Expressway,” Ang said.
He noted that, “Under normal Metro Manila conditions, you will be lucky to get from SLEX to the North Luzon Expressway in under three hours. You would have to pass through traffic gridlocks in Alabang, Magallanes, practically the whole of EDSA, or various areas through Manila. With the Skyway Extension and the completed Skyway 3, you can get there in 30 minutes without stopping.”
The project, which started in late 2019, will also eliminate traffic buildup along SLEX heading to Alabang and the Alabang viaduct.
From five lanes on the SLEX, the expressway would narrow to just three lanes at the Alabang viaduct, causing huge traffic jams not just on the expressway, but also on public roads feeding into it in Muntinlupa and Las Pinas.
The Skyway Extension will expand capacity by adding three lanes northbound and two lanes southbound.
With motorists coming from Cavite, Laguna, and Batangas able to bypass Alabang, traffic in Muntinlupa and along the Alabang-Zapote Road, will ease as well.
The COVID-19 pandemic delayed the project, originally set for full completion by end of this year. “Work had to stop after lockdown. We resumed work in mid-June and because of health protocols, we had to limit the number of workers at the site,” Ang noted.
He said that, “Apart from limitations on the workforce, we have also had to contend with delays in the shipment of materials, due to restrictions and limitations brought on by the pandemic.”
“Despite these challenges, our engineers and our contractors came through. They worked double-time, to deliver the northbound section as scheduled, by December. The southbound section will follow July next year,” Ang said.
Currently, SMC is installing steel girders to support the expressway and laying pre-cast slabs to make up the road itself.
“After this, we only need to cement the gaps between slabs, and then apply asphalt. While the weather is also a factor, especially when doing finishing work, we don’t see any problems meeting our December deadline for the northbound section.” (With a report from James A. Loyola)