MANILA, Philippines – Several heads of state who will visit the Philippines for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ summit in November might not be able to see the 7.1-kilometer Ninoy Aquino International Airport Expressway (NAIAX) project completed.
This was because the government was not able to fulfill its promise of giving winning concessionaire San Miguel Holdings Corporation full right-of-way delivery by April 2014.
“The major hurdle we are facing is the right-of-way for a number of key areas: Villamor Airbase, NAIA Road, Tambo, and locations along the Quirino to Roxas Boulevard stretch, which government has yet to deliver,” San Miguel Tollways Project Head Alec Cruz said in a statement on Tuesday, July 14.
According to Cruz, the initial target completion of NAIAX is October 2015, but it “will be very hard to achieve the target now as right-of-way and relocation utilities are not yet complete up to this date.”
The head of San Miguel’s toll road projects said the Department of Public Works and Highways promised to deliver right of way by April 2014.
To showcase even a portion of NAIAX in time for the APEC summit in November, San Miguel Holdings said it “will try our very best” to open a portion of NAIAX from NAIA Terminal 1 and 2 all the way to Macapagal Boulevard in Pasay City.
The country is hosting this year’s APEC conference, particularly the related meetings, the CEO Summit, and ministerial and leaders’ meetings.
“This however will still depend on the right-of-way acquisition of the government. Normally, the construction period will take about 4 months,” Cruz said.
Taps foreign builder
The Ramon Ang-led firm even tapped France’s Matière SAS and Filipino-owned Armando U. Khong Hun General Contractor’s Incorporated last March to fasten the construction of the Parañaque riverside section of NAIAX.
The French engineering and construction firm and its local counterpart would construct the Parañaque riverside section of the 4-lane elevated toll road that would connect NAIA terminals 1 to 4 to the Metro Manila Skyway along South Luzon Expressway and the Manila-Cavite Toll expressway.
“As of today, the government was able to complete around 70% of right-of-way. We are 12 months behind our target completion,” Cruz said.
Initially planned to pass through the Domestic Road, the expressway will now start from Sales Avenue, cross Andrews Avenue, Parañaque Riverside, and NAIA Road, and end at Macapagal Boulevard/PAGCOR Entertainment City, San Miguel said.
Help from DPWH, utility firms
It has been two years and two months since San Miguel, through its unit Optimal Infrastructure Development Incorporated, won the contract to build and operate the P15.52-billion ($343.10 million) NAIA Expressway Phase 2 project in May.
“We have called the DPWH’s attention to this several times, and I’m hopeful that they will exert extra effort to acquire the necessary rights-of-way. We are ready to build, but we cannot do so unless we have somewhere to build on,” Cruz said.
“We would also like to ask for the cooperation of utility companies such as Meralco (Manila Electric Company), telecommunications companies in the area whose facilities need to be relocated to make way for the construction,” he added.
The NAIA expressway project is seen as a strategic move for the Metro Manila Urban Expressway System. This system will be developed around the metro’s existing network of expressways.
The planned expressway seeks to ease vehicle flow to and from the airport as it will connect the 3 terminals of the NAIA Complex.