Manila Bulletin

A ma­jor ad­di­tion to gov’t high­way build­ing pro­gram

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With traf­fic in Metro Manila fast re­turn­ing to pre-pan­demic con­ges­tion, there was wel­come news last Tues­day – the 18kilo­me­ter Metro Manila Sky­way Stage 3 was fi­nally com­pleted af­ter al­most four years of con­struc­tion work at a cost of R44.8 bil­lion.

The el­e­vated ex­press­way con­nects the two ma­jor ex­press­ways in Lu­zon – the North Lu­zon Ex­press­way (NLEX) and the South Lu­zon Ex­press­way (SLEX). For years, the two ex­press­ways served the needs of mo­torists in the two re­gions, but right in­side Metro Manila, all traf­fic slowed and of­ten came to a full stop. Epi­fanio de los San­tos Ave. (EDSA) be­came well-known the world over for its ut­terly slow traf­fic, need­ing two hours to drive from one end in Caloocan City to the other end in Makati.

Pres­i­dent Duterte vowed he would cut down the travel time from Ayala Ave. in Makati to Cubao, Que­zon City, to only five min­utes. The so­lu­tion, as he saw it, was the con­struc­tion of el­e­vated ex­press­ways that would take traf­fic off EDSA.

Over the years, the ad­min­is­tra­tion has un­der­taken so many pub­lic works projects all over the coun­try and in­tends to con­tinue this with its “Build, Build, Build” pro­gram. Ear­lier, a new el­e­vated high­way was built over western Metro Manila con­nect­ing NLEX to C-3 in Tondo, on to the pier zone, thus ab­sorb­ing the cargo trucks that used to clog EDSA at Bal­intawak, Que­zon City.

Then last Tues­day, the other ma­jor high­way Sky­way 3 – con­nect­ing NLEX and SLEX over east­ern Metro Manila – was fi­nally com­pleted, it was an­nounced by Sec­re­tary Mark Vil­lar of the Depart­ment of Pub­lic Works and High­ways and Chief Op­er­a­tion Of­fi­cer Ra­mon S. Ang of San Miguel Cor­po­ra­tion (SMC) which the gov­ern­ment had con­tracted to com­plete the high­way.

Sky­way 3 will be open to the pub­lic af­ter a few fin­ish­ing touches, in­clud­ing proper cur­ing of the asphalt, which had been de­layed by the re­cent rains. When it fi­nally opens to the pub­lic – pos­si­bly on its orig­i­nal Oc­to­ber 31 sched­ule – it will re­duce travel time from NLEX to SLEX from two hours to only 30 min­utes. It should de­con­gest traf­fic in Metro Manila by as much as 55,000 ve­hi­cles daily.

The high­way-build­ing pro­gram has some­how man­aged to con­tinue de­spite the slow­down in most other gov­ern­ment pro­grams in the last six months. With two more years of the ad­min­is­tra­tion and the con­tin­u­ing “Build, Build, Build” pro­gram, the ad­min­is­tra­tion may well be known best for this build­ing pro­gram that has not been stopped or slowed down by re­stric­tions on other gov­ern­ment pro­grams due to the pan­demic.

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