Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada threw his support behind the P23.3-billion NLEX-SLEX (North Luzon Expressway-South Luzon Expressway) Connector Road project by relocating thousands of families that will be affected and securing the road right-of-way.

About 3,500 families in Manila will have to be moved, according to NLEX Corp.

Estrada said the eight-kilometer elevated highway that will connect NLEX and SLEX will ease vehicular traffic in Manila.

“I fully support the project,” Estrada said when he met representatives and engineers of NLEX Corp. “This will help ease the traffic problem, not only in Manila, but the whole metropolis and other nearby cities.”

The project will cut travel time from Buendia in Makati City to Balintawak in Quezon City from two hours to 20 minutes.

NLEX Corp. is the private sector partner of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in the first Public-Private Partnership project approved by the Duterte administration. The project extends from the end of Segment 10 in C3 Road in Caloocan City to Santa Mesa, Manila.

The highway will also connect the common point of Skyway Stage 3, traversing mostly along the PNR rail track. Its interchanges will be on C3 in Caloocan City and España Blvd. in Manila.

Edward Castro of NLEX Corp. said 85 percent of the alignment of the NLEX-SLEX Connector Road will pass through 38 barangays in Manila.

Construction is set to start in 2018 and will be completed by 2020, according to Castro.

“We are coordinating with the Manila City government. We will notify the local government if there will be construction on the ground. By next week there will be schedules of the construction,” Castro said.