MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III has approved the construction of one of the two connector roads linking the North and South Luzon tollroad systems.
In a statement on Friday, September 27, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said Aquino, who chairs the government’s highest policymaking body, has given the green light on the P26.5-billion connector road project contract of San Miguel-led Citra Central Expressway Corporation.
The consortium’s contract covers the Stage 3 project of the Metro Manila Skyway, which would connect the North Luzon expressway (NLEX) and the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX).
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“Our President is committed to build infrastructure that will ease the worsening traffic congestion and to enhance economic opportunities. This Skyway project will surely do both,” Abaya said.
READ: Finally, Aquino approves NLEX-SLEX road links
The transportation secretary said the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) would oversee the project.
Construction is expected to start in the early second quarter of 2014 and finish in 3 years, Abaya added.
Abaya noted that the Department of Public Works and Highways, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and local government units will work together to minimize the traffic while the connector road is being constructed.
Abaya said that the first section of the expressway from Buendia to Nagtahan could be opened to traffic by early 2016.
The 14.2-kilometer road system would help decongest EDSA and other major roads such as Quezon Avenue, Araneta Avenue, Nagtahan, and Quirino.
This road will reduce travel time between Buendia and Balintawak from the usual two hours to just 15 minutes.
The expressway will have 6 lanes, most of which will be elevated and are thus expected to be flood free.
Another connector road is being pursued by infrastructure conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) headed by businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan through Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC).
The Pangilinan group is finalizing a joint venture agreement with state-run Philippine National Construction Corporation (PNCC) for a P230-billion tollroad that would also connect the NLEX and SLEX.
Both connector roads are planned to share a common area spanning 5 kilometers from Quirino in Manila up to Nagtahan in Sta. Mesa in Manila crossing the Pasig River.
The DOTC wants the construction of the connector roads to start early next year so that this infrastructure would be completed in time for the Leaders Meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) which the Philippines would be hosting in 2015. – Rappler.com
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