Reimagining the Smokey Mountain alignment

BY

NIGHT OWL

The right of way problem which delayed Radial Road 10 spanned six presidents. The road traversing the old Smokey Mountain area was congested by informal settlers. It was only in January, 2017, that the Department of Public Works and Highways, under the leadership of Secretary Mark Villar, was able to complete the conversion of the 9.7-km road section into a high-capacity highway which helped offset the usual heavy volume of vehicles in major thoroughfares like EDSA and C5. 

When it opened, the Radial Road 10 from Delpan Bridge in Tondo, Manila, to the mouth of the Malabon River at Bangkulasi Bridge, C-4 Road in Navotas City, showed a lot of potential. Extending the current alignment of NLEX Harbor Link Segment 10 to Radial Road 10 was strategic. An additional exit ramp to the 5.58-km 6-lane divided elevated expressway from MacArthur Highway to C3 Road will provide a direct access between the port area and the northern provinces of Luzon. 

On September 2018, the construction of the 2.6-km, 4-lane elevated ramp began. Twenty-one months later, on June 15, 2020, the R-10 Spur Link was opened to the public, benefitting a total of 30,000 vehicles, 70% of which are truckers and cargo haulers.

Now, travel time from Quezon City to Port Area in Manila has been reduced from 2 hours to only 15 to 20 minutes. 

Within the next two years, the NLEX Harbor Link alignment will be connected to three major infrastructure projects – NLEX Harbor Link Segment 8.2, Skyway Stage 3, and NLEX SLEX Connector. 

Mindanao Ave. to Commonwealth Ave. in 10 minutes

The NLEX Harbor Link Segment 8.2 is an 8.35-km 4-lane divided expressway from Segment 8.1 which will start at Mindanao Avenue and traverse Republic Avenue, Luzon Avenue, and Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City. When completed, the project is expected to benefit 45,000 motorists per day and reduce the travel time from Mindanao Avenue to Commonwealth Avenue from 45 minutes to only 10 minutes. 

Makati to Quezon City in 20 minutes 

The main line of the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 Project (MMSS3), an 18.30-km elevated expressway from Buendia in Makati City to the North Luzon Expressway in Balintawak, Quezon City, will also be connected to the high-standard highway network. It will have eight access ramps or interchanges, namely, Buendia Avenue (South Super Highway, Makati City), Pres. Quirino Avenue (Malate, Manila), Plaza Dilao (Paco, Manila), Nagtahan/Aurora Boulevard (Manila), E. Rodriguez Avenue (Quezon City), Quezon Avenue (Quezon City), Sgt. Rivera St. (Quezon City), and NLEX.

The project is expected to decongest EDSA and C5 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. 

SLEX to NLEX in 20 minutes

Another big-ticket infrastructure project connected to the alignment is the NLEX-SLEX Connector Project, an 8 km-four lane expressway, spanning from C3 Road in Caloocan City to PUP, Sta. Mesa, in Manila to the common alignment of Skyway Stage 3.

When completed, the high-standard highway project will reduce travel time between SLEX and NLEX from 1.5 - 2 hours to only 15 - 20 minutes. It will shorten travel time between Clark and Calamba from 3 hours to only 1 hour and 40 minutes.

Reforms in right-of-way

Since 2016, DPWH instituted key reforms in the right-of-way (ROW) processes, including the issuance of an administrative order creating Right-of-Way Task Forces for each of the projects being implemented, which effectively decentralized ROW acquisition functions. This is complimented by the Infra-Track App — a fully automated monitoring system utilizing geotagging feature, satellite technology, and drone monitoring.