THE Transportation department said the P62.7-billion Metro Rail Transit Line 7 (MRT-7) project — which will run between North Avenue in Quezon City and San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan — is on track for partial operations next year after hitting 51.84% completion this month.

“Overall accomplishment is 51.84% as of June,” Transportation Assistant Secretary Goddes Hope O. Libiran told BusinessWorld in a phone message Monday.

She said rolling stock and electrical and mechanical works are 55.30% done.

The department also reported a 48.65% overall accomplishment rate for civil works.

She said the MRT-7 project is targeted for partial operations in the fourth quarter of 2021.

In November, the Transportation department said two Quezon City courts had issued orders for the government to take possession of a site being considered for the project’s depot in along Quirino Highway in Barangay Lagro, Quezon City, “which was found optimal for right-of-way implementability, asset constructibility, capital expenditure and operational expense efficiency, and operational reliability and maintainability.”

It replaces the originally planned depot site in San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan, which remains subject to a legal case after the property owner questioned the expropriation at the Malolos Regional Trial Court Branch 11.

The P62.7-billion MRT-7 project has three components: a 23-kilometer rail transit system with 14 stations, a 22-kilometer asphalt road between the Bocaue Interchange of the North Luzon Expressway and a planned intermodal transport terminal in Tala.

According to the official website of the Public-Private Partnership Center, the project’s road component will “divert northern provincial bus operations to San Jose del Monte, thereby decongesting EDSA.” — Arjay L. Balinbin