Ayala, SM team up for alternate to EDSA

Chris Schnabel
Ayala, SM team up for alternate to EDSA
The proposed P25-billion elevated expressway will be owned by both firms and built at no cost to the government

MANILA, Philippines – Rival conglomerates Ayala Corporation and SM Investments Corporation (SMIC) have teamed up to propose a new elevated expressway that will provide a much faster alternative to EDSA.

The elevated toll road, to be called the C3 elevated expressway (C3EX), would run 8.6 kilometers and start in Sta. Mesa, Manila, where it would link to the Skyway stage 3, and go all way to the Mall of Asia Complex in Pasay City via Makati.

It aims to provide an alternative route from Pasay and Makati to areas in the north including Mandaluyong, San Juan and Quezon City, and allow motorists to bypass EDSA.

“The intention really is to provide an alternative to ESDA. The only missing portion of the circumferential roads around Metro Manila is C3, it’s a missing link so this is a way to complete it,” said Ayala Infrastructure Holdings Corporation president and CEO Rene Almendras in a briefing on Friday, March 31.

“If you live to the west of EDSA, and you want to go to Makati or Roxas Boulevard or North you won’t need to go to EDSA which at present is what everyone does,” he added. Almendras estimated travel time between Quezon City and Makati to these areas to be cut by as much as 75% during off-peak hours.

The project would be jointly owned by Ayala Corporation, through subsidiary Ayala Infrastructure, and SMIC. Almendras said that other firms may join as well.

The total estimated cost of the project is P25 billion. Almendras said SMIC and Ayala Infrastructure would not be asking for any susbsidy from government.

Both firms formally submitted the unsolicited proposal for the project to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) earlier in the day.

“Our unsolicited proposal simply says we want to build it and we will even repay the government for the cost of obtaining right of way in certain sections,” Almendras said.

A lot of the right of way issues would arise on national roads, with portions of it in Ayala properties but there would be a few private lands affected, he pointed out.

The offer to reimburse the government, he said, is also a way of encouraging it to give its go-signal.

The firms are hoping to get the go-ahead by Q2 of 2018. They estimate it would take 3 years to build the expressway.

TIMELINE. The unsolicited proposal will have to go through a number of steps, including a Swiss challenge, before getting the green light.

Both firms benefit

Although Ayala and SMIC are in fierce competition in multiple industries, they see the joint project as mutually beneficial because it improves access to their respective power bases in retail and development.

“You might be wondering why two competing developers would go together and its very simple; your development is nothing without mobility. We do have people in Makati who want to go to Mall of Asia and vice-versa and this will help,” Almendras said.

The proposed expressway also comes with the added benefit of decongesting roads in Makati as motorists will be have to pass through the central business district on their way to the south, he explained.

The same rings true for SMIC. Its vice president of portfolio investments Tristan Choa said the project “supports the core investments of SM by providing access and SM Mall of Asia is one of our big property developments.”

With rising car sales and the mounting economic cost of traffic, both firms also have a serious stake in decongesting Metro Manila to protect their property valuations. (READ: Fix traffic or PH can lose P6B daily by 2030 – JICA)

“I think the traffic problem in Metro Manila has reached a level where there everyone just wants to help. Because if we don’t, our own developments are going to suffer tremendously. Half a million new cars are expected to be sold this year, the highest ever – with 60% expected in Metro Manila,” Almendras pointed out.

“With all those new entrants on the road, we better have new roads and new ways to move,” he added.  – Rappler.com