MANILA, Philippines — Motorists can pass through the 18-kilometer Skyway Stage 3 toll-free for one month in line with its soft opening today, San Miguel Corp. (SMC) president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang announced yesterday.

Ang said motorists would be able to use up to four lanes of the expressway, which connects the northern and southern parts of Metro Manila.

“We are glad to finally open Skyway 3 even on a limited capacity. While this is only a partial opening, given the scale and importance of the project, this is a significant development,” he said.

According to Ang, the SMC will open all seven lanes of the Skyway 3 from Buendia, Makati to the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) on Jan. 14.

Ang said the company would have fully opened the expressway sooner, but the recent typhoons delayed the curing of concrete and preparation for asphalting.

“We cannot rush the curing of concrete and preparation for asphalt because these have to be given enough time and have to be done according to the highest specifications to ensure quality and safety,” he said.

Ang thanked the Duterte administration for paving the way for the continuous construction of Skyway 3 over the past few years.

“We believe it will be the key to our economic recovery after the pandemic,” Ang said.

He also credited Duterte’s economic team led by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar for pursuing massive infrastructure development under the government’s Build Build Build program and helping accelerate the completion of Skyway 3.

According to Ang, right-of-way issues that hampered the project were settled during the administration of Duterte.

Villar also made it possible for the end point of Skyway 3 to be extended and connected to the NLEX.

“This project is the result of hard work and contributions of so many stakeholders. We especially thank President Duterte and his economic managers for their continued push for infrastructure development to create growth and make life easier for more Filipinos,” Ang said.

The Skyway 3 is seen to reduce travel time between Makati and northern Manila to only 20 minutes and Alabang and NLEX to 30 minutes.

It will also serve as an alternative route to EDSA for those traveling between Metro Manila cities, reducing traffic gridlocks along the country’s busiest thoroughfare.

By: Catherine Talavera