Light Rail Manila signs P24B-loan for LRT1 Cavite extension

Chrisee Dela Paz
French rail makers Bouygues Travaux Publics and Alstom Transport Private Limited will help the Light Rail Manila Consortium build the LRT1 Cavite extension

HOUNDED BY DELAYS. The group of Ayala and MPIC in 2014 bagged the P64.9-billion deal to extend LRT-1 from Baclaran to Bacoor, Cavite

MANILA, Philippines — With Metro Manila’s insufficient network of trains, the consortium of Ayala Corporation and Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC) brings good news to commuters: The construction of the P64.9-billion ($1.37-billion) Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT1) extension from Baclaran to Bacoor, Cavite will begin in June.

This was after the group of Ayala and MPIC – Light Rail Manila Consortium (LRMC) – on Friday, February 12, signed the P24-billion ($506.02-million) loan facility and the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) agreement for the LRT1 Cavite extension deal.

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) awarded the LRT1 Cavite extension project to the LRMC in September 2014.

“These milestone agreements give us significant headway towards the construction and commissioning of the much-awaited Cavite Extension which will benefit an additional 300,000 passengers from four big cities in southern Manila,” LRMC president and CEO Jesus Francisco said.

LRMC signed the 15-year Omnibus Loan and Security Agreement with Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company (Metrobank), Security Bank Corporation and Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC), with P15.3 billion ($322.59-million) of the total loan amount allocated for the Cavite extension and P8.7 billion ($183.44-million) for the rehabilitation of the existing LRT1 system.

Stalled relocation of illegal settlers

But according to Francisco, unfinished right-of-way acquisition and stalled relocation of illegal settlers take a toll on the construction of the LRT1 Cavite extension.

“Our main concern is that there are still some ISFs – illegal settlers. But we got the report of the grantors that by April, they expect to do relocation of most of them, if not all of them,” Francisco said.

As of today, the chief of LRMC said the government has delivered about 95% of the right-of-way acquisition.

“We think that the stations will come later, but first we have to start building the carriage way. April is when they said they would address the problems of the ISF. If they can really move, by June 1 we will be able to start,” Francisco told reporters on the sidelines of a briefing in Makati City.

French firms as contractors

LRMC took on French companies Bouygues Travaux Publics and Alstom Transport Private Limited to help build the extension.

Francisco said that LRMC and contractors Bouyges Travaux Publics and Alstom Transport are set to commence the construction of the 11.7-kilometer Cavite extension once right of way is delivered by the DOTC and Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA).

The extension is targeted for completion in about 4 years after the delivery of right-of-way.

The 11.7-kilometer Cavite extension will link with the existing system immediately south of the Baclaran Station, and run in a generally southerly direction to Niog, Cavite.

Eight new stations will be provided with 3 intermodal facilities across Pasay City, Paranaque City, Las Pinas City and Cavite. 

The new stations are Aseana, MIA, Asia World, Ninoy Aquino, Dr Santos, Las Piñas, Zapote and Niog. The intermodal facilities will be located at Dr Santos, Zapote, and Niog.

The commercial speed of the Cavite extension will be 60 kilometers per hour.

LRMC said the new stations will be accessible to and from nearby community facilities such as shops, schools, stadium, and park.

Bouygues Travaux Publics, which will provide the railway infrastructure, is known globally for complex projects involving tunnels, engineering structures and road, port and rail infrastructure. 

Among its recent projects are the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macao Bridge, the Port of Miami Tunnel, and the Nîmes-Montpellier rail bypass in France. 

Under the agreement, Alstom will provide system integration and project management; build a new train depot; extend the existing depot complete with track works; and establish a new power supply, catenary lines, and signaling and telecommunications system.

Alstom will also modernize the signaling system of the existing 20.7-kilometer line, which runs from Roosevelt Avenue in Quezon City to Baclaran. – Rappler.com

US$1 = P47.42