MRT-7 project a go; DMCI-Marubeni to build QC-Bulacan link
MANILA, Philippines - Joint venture partners DM Consunji Inc. (DMCI) and Japanese firm Marubeni Corp. finally obtained the green light from the government to build a $1 billion rail system that will connect Quezon City to the neighboring province of Bulacan to the north.
In a disclosure to the local stock exchange on Tuesday, May 15, DMCI said the consortium has "recently signed an Engineering, Procurement, Construction (EPC) contract" for the MRT-7 train system, a project of a unit of conglomerate San Miguel Corp.
The MRT-7 project is a 22-kilometer train line with 14 train stations from San Jose del Monte in Bulacan to the corner of North Avenue and Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (Edsa) in Quezon City. It also comprises of a 22 kilometer 6 lane road from the MRTS depot in Bulacan.
The MRT-7 will be connected to the MRT-3 train line and the Light Rail Transit (LRT) line 1 through a common station in North Avenue.
DMCI spokesman Elery Mendoza told AFP the project would cost around $1 billion and start early next year. Last year, San Miguel and the DMCI-Marubeni consortium estimated the project to cost around @1.2 billion.
"It will most probably take 42 months for the entire system to be completed," Mendoza added.
In Tokyo, Dow Jones Newswires quoted a Marubeni statement as saying it and DMCI received an order worth $1 billion to build railway tracks and stations in Manila.
Manila's light rail systems currently serve about 1.3 million commuters daily.
In 2008, San Miguel had acquired a 51% interest in Universal LRT Corp. which will build the 21-kilometer MRT line 7. The railway project is estimated to cost $1.2 billion.
In June 2011, the Department of Transportation and Communication was then expecting financial closure of the project to take place in the 3rd quarter of 2011.
Construction was supposed to take 3.5 years but has been hit by delays arising from issues such as concerns raised by affected local government units.
Linked to MRT-3
San Miguel had said that when it was in discussions with the MRT-7 proponents in 2008, it “contemporaneously commenced a review of MRT-3 as the MRT-7 was configured to share a common station in SM North Edsa with the MRT3.
“At such time, a shareholder group of the MRTC invited the company to invest in the MRT-3 project and, simultaneously, the company had discussions with the creditors of the MRT-3 project,” it had said then.
San Miguel is also eyeing to bid for the right to operate MRT-3. The government has yet to start the auction process. - Rappler and Agence France-Presse