MANILA, Philippines – Construction of the Malolos-Tutuban North-South Commuter Railway Project is scheduled to start within the first half of 2019, the Department of Transportation said yesterday.

In a briefing during the press tour conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency(JICA) for its projects, DOTr project development manager Mikaela Eloisa Mendoza said the detailed engineering design for the project would be completed within the year while the procurement process would start next year.

The ¥242-billion project funded by official development assistance loan by JICA involves the construction of a 38-kilometer elevated commuter train line that will run from Tutuban, Manila to Malolos, Bulacan, as well as the the procurement of rolling stock and the installation of electro-mechanical systems.

The commuter railway aims to cut travel time Malolos to Tutuban to 35 minutes even during rush hour.

The project is aimed at expanding the transit network in Metro Manila to ease traffic congestion and to spur development in surrounding areas.

The line, which is expected to be operational between 2021 to 2022, would be able to service around 300,000 passengers daily.

To guarantee the safety of passengers, several safety and security features would be incorporated into the design of the railway.

These include the use of a seismic design to prevent destruction by strong earthquakes.

CCTV monitors would also be installed in the trains and platforms to monitor peace and order during trips.

In a related development, the second phase of the JICA-funded Plaridel Bypass Road Project is expected to be completed on schedule as there are few right-of-way issues and construction activities are proceeding as scheduled.

The second phase of the 24.61-kilometer arterial road project covers Package 3, which entails the construction of 2.2 kilometers passing through the municipalities of Bustos and San Rafael in Bulacan, and Package 4 which involves the construction of 7.74 kilometers passing through San Rafael.

Package 3 is expected to be completed in June 2017 while Package 4 is expected to be completed in July 2018.

“These will be completed in time. Contractors are working on schedule and there are few right-of-way issues,” said project manager Giuseppe Mirabito.

The bypass road will link the North Luzon Expressway with the Philippine-Japan Friendship Highway to alleviate traffic congestion in several towns in Bulacan.

With the completion of the first phase of the project in November 2012, travel time was cut and traffic congestion was eased in the following towns: Balagtas, Bustos, Baliuag, Pandi, Plaridel, San Rafael and Angat.

The bypass will be built with a two-way, two lane road.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board approved in November 2016 the addition of two more lanes as well as the construction of accompanying road infrastructures along the road network such as bridges, interchanges, overpasses and an intersection.

23 February 2017
By Czeriza Valencia