Motorists can spend less time on the road and go home early following the completion of a major infrastructure project in Metro Manila, according to Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar.
Speaking on government radio, Villar cited the benefits of the new Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 in decongesting EDSA, particularly reducing travel time between South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) to 30 minutes from the two hours.
The 18-kilometer elevated expressway, which connects Buendia, Makati City to the NLEX in Balintawak, Quezon City, was inaugurated by President Duterte last Friday. More than 70,00 motorists are reportedly using the new skyway to avoid the “intolerable” traffic of EDSA, according to Villar.
“In terms of your time, makakauwi ka nang maaga sa bahay, in terms of loss experience sa traffic, imagine siguro in a day, you spend three to four hours in traffic. Iyong iba mas mahigit pa (In terms of your time, you can go home early. In terms of lost experience in traffic. Imagine in a day you spend three to four hours in traffic. Others spend more time in traffic),” he said during the “Cabinet Report sa Teleradyo” hosted by Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar Friday.
“Yung mga nagko-commute minsan nagigising sila madaling araw, uuwi na sila late ang uwi nila, hatinggabi na (Other commuters wake up early in the morning, go home latest at time due to traffic) so, it’s really with this, I think we drastically improved the everyday lives of many people, millions of people,” he said.
Villar explained that the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 project serves as an alternative road to bypass the horrendous traffic along EDSA. The new expressway provides a “seamless connectivity” between NLEX and South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), he added.
“In effect, parang naging bypass itong Skyway Stage 3. Kasi iyong mga dati, isa lang ang option natin, EDSA, kaya sobrang congested. Kung pupunta ka sa NLEX, wala ka namang ibang dadaanan kung hindi EDSA. So it really created a situation where the traffic was intolerable (In effect, Skyway Stage 3 serves as a bypass road. Because in the past, we only had one option, pass EDSA which is severely congested. If you go to NLEX, you won’t pass any road other than EDSA so it really created a situation where the traffic was intolerable),” he said
Citing his personal experience in driving along the new skyway, Villar said he reached NLEX in half a hour from his home in the south.
“I have never experienced that in my whole life na kapag galing ako sa south makakarating ako sa NLEX (that from the south, I can reach NLEX) in less than an hour, ito nga 35 minutes lang nasa NLEX na ako (or 35 minutes to NLEX). It’s really unbelievable,” he said.
For those in Quezon City planning to travel to the Manila airport, he said they reach the destination in 20 to 25 minutes using the new skyway. “It’s really amazing, the effect of infrastructure on our daily lives. And ito naman iyong goal ni Presidente – to give comfort to the Filipino. And this is what the Build, Build, Build does. It gives comfort, it gives jobs and it gives opportunities to Filipinos,” he said.
The latest road project is part of the government’s massive Build Build Build program that seeks to spur the country’s’ infrastructure network, generate jobs, and revitalize the economy affected by the pandemic.
Villar said more than 20 major projects have been identified to decongest EDSA. He noted that more than 400,000 vehicles pass EDSA every day, exceeding its capacity 280,000. He said they aim to relieve EDSA of at least 120,000 cars through various road and bridge projects.
“We’ve already completed some of the projects for the EDSA decongestion. Included in the projects that we’ve accomplished are the Laguna Lake Highway which is from Bicutan to Taytay and we’ve finished the Harbor Link which basically allows trucks from the port to go to directly to NLEX without having to go through the Metro Manila streets,”he said.