MANILA – The completion of various infrastructure projects under the ‘Build, Build, Build’ program remains on track amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) reported on Monday.
In a televised briefing with President Rodrigo Duterte, DPWH Secretary Mark Villar enumerated the projects that have been completed and nearing completion.
Among them is the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3, which is an 18.83 kilometer elevated expressway and part of the Edsa decongestion program of the government.
“It’s already in use. And by next week, we will inspect the Nagtahan ramp exit. So very soon, more exists will be used, additional exits of Makati Skyway Stage 3,” he said.
Citing the agency’s reports, Villar said the average travel speed along the Edsa has increased to 28 km. per hour (kph) from an average of 16 kph when the Skyway Stage 3 was opened.
“And we’re on track, Sir, our goal is to bring back Edsa to its original capacity. Already 70,000 cars a day are passing through Skyway Stage 3,” the DPWH chief added.
Villar said another part of the Edsa decongestion program is the Bonifacio Global City (BGC)-Ortigas Center Link Roads, which is set to be completed in June.
“Once it is finished, it will connect Taguig and Makati sa Pasig City by 12 minutes. Some 30,000 cars a day will no longer pass through Guadalupe section of Edsa. So it will improve the traffic situation,” he added.
The DPWH also reported that the Binondo-Intramuros Bridge, is now 60 percent complete.
“This is a China grant project. Some 30,000 vehicles per day are expected to use this bridge. It’s very iconic, the arc of the bridge is classy, and to symbolize our friendship with China. So this is also be delivered at the fourth quarter of this year,” he said.
Another Edsa decongestion project is the Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge connecting Mandaluyong to Makati.
“It’s a four-lane bridge across Pasig River. And again, when it’s finished, at least 10,000 to 15,000 cars a day will decongest Edsa. So almost complete also, targeted by second quarter of this year,” he said.
Villar said the Alabang-Sucat Extension, also to be delivered by this year as well as the South Link, which substantially completed by this year, the project will connect Cavite Toll Expressway (Cavitex) to C5, and also it will be a connection from Cavite to Taguig.
“The Cavite-Laguna Expressway. It’s already open. The Laguna section has been completed and in the second quarter, by June, we will open the Cavite section going to Silang. It will connect Cavite to Laguna, South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) to Cavitex,” he added.
He also noted that with the completion of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) Harbor Link, the usual one hour travel time from Port Area in Manila to NLEX has been reduced to just 10 minutes.
“Based on our numbers, almost 30,000 vehicles a day are using the Harbor Link, particularly trucks,” he added.
Also inaugurated was the Urdaneta City Bypass Road. It is 7.17 kilometers at total cost of PHP2.2 billion. In Bulacan, the Pulilan-Baliuag Diversion Road in Bulacan has also been completed. Motorists can use this road to go to NLEX.
“The Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX), this was opened last year. It’s part of the Luzon Spine Expressway Network. The travel time between Tarlac and La Union, from 3.5 hours, it’s now only one hour. Some 20,000 vehicles a day are expected to pass through this expressway,” Villar said.
He said another flagship project that will be delivered this year is a 30-kilometer four-lane expressway from Tarlac to Cabanatuan City known as the Central Luzon Link Expressway.
“The travel time before is 70 minutes, now it will only be 20 minutes. It’s a PHP14 billion project. It’s practically complete, 93 percent completion. It will be finished by this year,” he said.
The Arterial Road Bypass in Plaridel, Bulacan, is also set to be completed. The project involved the widening of 22-kilometer road from two lanes to four lanes. It will benefit 15,000 commuters per day.
Also, the Sariaya Bypass road in Quezon is 97 percent complete and set to be delivered this year. It is 7.42 kilometers road project, expected to reduce the traffic on Daang Maharlika going to Quezon.
A new diversion road in Batangas, which is a four-lane kilometer road from Batangas City to the towns of Bauan and Mabini, is also set to be delivered this year. The project worth PHP1 billion will reduce the travel time from two hours to 30 minutes.
Villar said the first portion of the 12.8 kilometers Laguna-Quezon road has been completed. Once it is fully completed, it will also reduce travel time by 25 to 40 minutes from Laguna to Quezon.
“The Sorsogon City Coastal By-pass road is also nearing completion. It’s a 5.66-kilometer coastal road and the completion will be reduced travel time by as much as 43 minutes going to Sorsogon,” he said.
Visayas, Mindanao infra projects
In Eastern Visayas, Villar said they are looking to deliver this year the 11-kilometer Samar Pacific Coastal Road, the largest project implemented in the Northern Samar area.
The full seven kilometers of the segment of Davao City Coastal Road is set to be delivered by the end of the year or early next year.
“The PHP1 billion project for the support and rehabilitation of Marawi City and surrounding areas. The grant is from Japan. The contract packages have been done including for the road sections with a total length of 18 kilometers. Anytime we can inaugurate,” Villar said.
He said the agency has completed the construction of a flood control system in Cagayan de Oro City. (PNA)