‘Traffic will improve sooner than later’ – DPWH chief
MANILA, Philippines – Public Works Secretary Mark Villar assured Filipinos during groundbreaking ceremonies at the University of the Philippines Diliman on Wednesday, September 25, that efforts are underway to lessen traffic in Metro Manila.
“For those who are worried about traffic, don't worry. It will improve much sooner rather than later,” he said.
“When we started office, we have already set out this very ambitious plan to decongest EDSA. We all know how difficult it is with the traffic, how difficult it is for the students. But I'd like to reassure you that in the next few months, we will be opening the Skyway, which will be connecting SLEX (Southern Luzon Expressway) and NLEX (North Luzon Expressway),” Villar added.
The Skyway Stage 3 is an 18.68-kilometer elevated expressway from Buendia in Makati City to Balintawak in Quezon City. It is seen to reduce travel time from Buendia to Balintawak from two hours to just 15 to 20 minutes.
The project's concessionaire is San Miguel Corporation (SMC)-led Citra Central Expressway Corporation. It is also among the key projects under the government's Build, Build, Build program.
“Can you imagine a world where you can go from Makati to UP in 30 minutes?” Villar asked. “This is the most ambitious project...to decongest EDSA. When this is finished, we will reduce traffic by a hundred thousand cars a day.”
According to estimates of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, in 2018, the average number of vehicles on EDSA reached over 380,000 a day, representing a 4.38% increase from 2017. More than half or about 65.56% of vehicles on EDSA are private cars.
The Skyway Stage 3 project is set to be completed by the 1st quarter of 2020.
Aside from this, Villar noted that other projects to improve traffic in Metro Manila are in the pipeline, such as the construction of the NLEX-SLEX Connector Road, the Cavite-Laguna Expressway, and the Sta Monica-Lawton Bridge, among others.
“We're quite confident that the traffic situation will improve very soon,” Villar told Rappler.
Construction of the Skyway Stage 3, however, aggravated traffic on Wednesday after a lane was closed late Tuesday evening, September 24, causing a buildup. (READ: Belmonte warns: Traffic will get worse before it will get better)
Those who were affected took to Twitter throughout Wednesday to express their frustration, making SLEX among the top trending topics on the platform.
SMC appealed to commuters and motorists traversing the SLEX for more understanding.
“Ang proyekto na ito ay para sa kapakanan nating lahat. Konting tiis lang po. Sa pagtatapos ng proyektong ito, higit pong giginhawa ang daloy ng trapiko. Ginagawa po namin ang lahat upang matapos ang construction sa lalong madaling panahon,” the company said in a statement.
(This project is for the benefit of all. We ask for a little more patience. Once this project is finished, it will ease traffic. We’re doing all we can to finish the construction at the soonest possible time.)
Aside from the Skyway and the SLEX, SMC also operates the STAR Tollway, NAIA Expressway, and Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway. – Rappler.com