Interaksyon, 21 January 2013
MANILA – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) on Monday said it would likely hold in March the Swiss challenge for Metro Pacific Tollways Corp’s (MPTC) unsolicited road project connecting the north and south of Metro Manila.
“We will finalize soonest maybe in two months, we will announce [the terms of reference],” DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson told Interaksyon.com in a text message.
The board of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) last week approved the P25.56 billion NLEX-SLEX Connector Road Project, which will complete the north-south industrial development beltway transport axis through the construction of a 13.4-kilometer four-lane elevated expressway.
Connecting the North Luzon Expressway to the South Luzon Expressway, the project aims to decongest traffic in Metro Manila and provide better access to Manila ports. The project should start this year and end in 2016.
The connector road would run along the tracks of state-owned Philippine National Railways. Since the project is an unsolicited proposal, government rules require that it be subjected to a Swiss challenge.
Earlier, Transport Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said the government has come up with a compromise deal acceptable to MPTC and Citra Metro Manila Tollways Corp, which also plans to put up a connector road linking NLEX to SLEX at a cost of P25.4 billion.
Malacanang had cleared both the MPTC and Citra Manila projects, which would intersect at a point running from Buendia Avenue to the Polytechnic University of the Philippines campus in Sta Mesa, Manila. Financing and construction of the common alignment had been a sticking point as that 5-kilometer segment is expected to enjoy the highest traffic volume for either project.
Backed by San Miguel Corp, Citra Manila’s proposal calls for a 14-kilometer six-lane tollway that will have exits in Quirino, Manila and Plaza Dilao, Aurora Boulevard, E. Rodriguez Ave., Quezon Boulevard, Sgt. Rivera, and Balintawak in Quezon City.
MPTC, along with TV5 is chaired by Manuel V. Pangilinan. InterAksyon.com is the online news portal of TV5.