‘EDSA decongestion coming’

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    PUBLIC Works Secretary Mark Villar yesterday said the five-minute travel from Makati City to Cubao in Quezon City can be expected this year as the government expects traffic to be reduced along EDSA by 30 percent within the year.

    Villar, in a briefing in Malacañang, said even the travel time from Buendia in Makati City to Balintawak in Quezon City can be reduced to 15 minutes.

    Villar said the decongestion of EDSA is forthcoming because of the different road projects being implemented under the administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program.

    He said that all infrastructure projects of the government is on track despite numerous setbacks last year, such as the delay in the passage of the 2019 budget and the construction ban due to the May senatorial and local elections.

    Villar said government is spending at least total of P384 billion pesos for the different projects that will help decongest the main highway in Metro Manila.

    “Of course EDSA at this point, hindi na natin kayang i-widen, it’s not cost efficient. So, ang ginagawa natin ngayon is gumagawa na kami ng mga bypass road. Iyon po ang strategy ni President Duterte, gumagawa na siya ng mga skyways, mga bypass roads. (Of course EDSA at this point, cannot be widened anymore, it’s not cost efficient. So what we are doing is building bypass roads. The strategy of President Duterte is to build skyways and bypass roads),” he added.

    Two of the infrastructure projects are the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) Harbor Link R-10 Ramp and the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 which are expected to help reduce the vehicles travelling along EDSA by 130,000.

    Villar said the NLEX Harbor Link, which connects the Port Area in Manila to NLEX, is expected to be finished by March, while the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3, which connects Buendia in Makati City to Balintawak in Quezon City, is expected to be completed by either April to May this year.

    Once completed, the travel time from Buendia in Makati City to Balintawak in Quezon City is expected to be cut to 15 minutes.

    “Kapag pinagsama-sama po lahat po ng decongestion projects, we can expect that. the President would deliver on his commitment to decongest EDSA definitely. At this point, what was thought, iyong dati akala natin imposible, ngayon inevitable na iyong decongestion ng EDSA (If you combine these decongestion projects, we can expect that.

    the President would deliver on his commitment to decongest EDSA definitely. At this point, what was thought as impossible then, now it is inevitable, the decongestion of EDSA),” he said.

    Villar said other ongoing road projects to decongest traffic in Metro Manila are the Mindanao Avenue Extension up to Kaybiga Road; the C-6 Expressway, the South Link Project and the NAIA Expressway (NAIAX) Phase 2, among others.

    Bridge projects that would also help decongest Metro Manila include the Bonifacio Global City – Ortigas Center Bridge; the Binondo – Intramuros Bridge; the Estrella – Pantaleon Bridge; the North – South Harbor Bridge; the Palanca – Villegas Bridge; the East Bank – West Bank Bridge, the Marikina – Vista Real Bridge; the J.P. Rizal – Lopez Jaena Bridge; and J.P. Rizal – St. Mary Bridge.

    Villar said other ongoing projects to address traffic congestion outside Metro Manila, that are in various stages of completion, include the Luzon Spine Expressway Network which aims to reduce travel time between La union and Bicol from 18 hours to eight to nine hours; and the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway which is set to open the Rosario exit and start the extension of the construction of highway up to San Fernando in La Union this year.

    Also ongoing are the 30-kilometer four-lane Central Luzon Link Expressway (CLEX) where the first phase from Tarlac to Cabanatuan is already finished; the 66-kilometer South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) Toll 4 (T4) in Quezon which will cut the travel time from the start of the SLEX up to Lucena in Quezon to two hours from five hours; the Quezon-Bicol expressway (QuBEX) from Tayabas in Quezon to Camarines Sur in Bicol which aims to cut travel time to two hours; the Camarines Sur expressway that will reduce travel time between San Fernando and Pili to 11 minutes.

    The other road projects outside Luzon include the 73-kilometer Metro-Cebu Expressway from Naga City to Danao City that cuts travel time from three hours to one hour; the 18-kilometer Davao City coastal road and the 45.5-kilometer Davao City bypass road which is targeted for completion within the term of the President.