Despite pending right-of-way (ROW) negotiations, San Miguel Corporation (SMC) has started work on the vital 1.2-kilometer road linking its 18-km Skyway Stage 3 to the ongoing 8-km NLEX connector project.
The expressway project runs from C3 road all the way to Santa Mesa, Manila.
The company is “working on what’s workable,” to address delays in ROW acquisition for the connection, located at the Nagtahan to Sta. Mesa areas in Manila, according SMC President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon S. Ang.
The connection, part of the detailed engineering design of the Skyway 3 project, can be completed within 24 months or less as soon as the ROW issues with the landowners are resolved.
“This connection is vital because it will link two major expressways, Skyway Stage 3 and the Metro Pacific Tollways’ connector road project,” he reiterated.
Already, “We’re mobilizing our contractors to start work in areas that are unobstructed, where we’re permitted to work ” Ang elaborated.
“We’re also committing the funds needed to buy the ROW properties, so hopefully, these issues will be resolved the soonest.”
The ROW acquisition was the single biggest constraint to the Skyway Stage 3 project.
While advance work began 2014, actual work on the main sections 1-4 only started in 2015 because of ROW issues.
To avoid too much delay, the company is starting construction in “available” areas.
Even then, a lot of ROW issues remained unsettled, prompting numerous realignments and redesigns.
SMC paid for all the ROW properties and spent for the transfer of vital utilities as well as the reconstruction of three bridges to complete Skyway 3.
“The alignment for this connection to the NLEX connector project, which the Metro Pacific Tollways Group is building, was supposed to be built together with Section 2 of Skyway 3 in the Nagtahan to Sta. Mesa area,” Ang pointed out.
“However, about two years since we first worked on workable areas for Skyway 3, the ROW issue in section 2 threatened to stall the project. That is why we proposed to realign Skyway 3 along the San Juan River.”
Despite the change, SMC signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
“We already committed the budget for the ROW acquisition–we will pay for it–and we will complete this section within 24 months,” Ang pledged.
Ideally, the connection should be complete before or by the time the NLEX connector road is completed.
Even while SMC negotiates to settle the ROW issues, it has already started work on available areas and has employed a ‘just-in-time’ sequence.
“Originally, the ROW was supposed to be delivered December, 2020, but it’s now pushed back,” Ang noted.
“But we want to assure the public and the government we will do everything to complete the link in less than 24 months, once we get the ROW,” he promised.