THE Cavite extension project of the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) is now 60% complete, its private operator Light Rail Manila Corp. (LRMC) said.

“The current progress for the Cavite extension is that it has reached about 60% completion,” LRMC President and Chief Executive Officer Juan F. Alfonso said at a recent press briefing of the Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC).

“The viaduct construction is now crossing from the Parañaque River, crossing Cavitex (Manila-Cavite Expressway) and going to Roxas Boulevard,” he added.

LRMC is scheduled to complete the viaduct by the end of the year.

“Afterwards, we will start with the electromechanical works — the laying of the rails and the installation of the electrical system as well as the stations,” Mr. Alfonso said.

The P64.9-billion LRT-1 Cavite extension project, a public-private partnership (PPP) venture that the National Economic and Development Authority board approved in November 2013, aims to add an 11.7-kilometer Baclaran-Bacoor, Cavite segment to the current 18.1-kilometer train line. The new stretch will have eight stations.

The first phase of the extension consists of a seven-kilometer stretch with five stations between the Redemptorist Church area in Baclaran and Dr. Santos Ave. in Parañaque.

The Baclaran-Dr. Santos segment is expected to start partial operations in the first quarter of 2024, the Transportation department said. The government plans to conduct trial runs in March 2023.

The Cavite extension is expected to be fully operational by the second quarter of 2027.

Once completed, the Transportation department expects daily ridership along the entire line to increase to 800,000 passengers from 500,000, and Baclaran-Bacoor travel time to be cut to 25 minutes from up to two hours.

LRMC is the joint venture of Ayala Corp., Metro Pacific Light Rail Corp. and Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings (Philippines) Pte. Ltd. It holds the P65-billion, 32-year PPP contract to operate LRT-1 and build its extension to Cavite.

MPIC is one of three Philippine subsidiaries of Hong Kong’s First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being PLDT, Inc. and Philex Mining Corp. Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., maintains an interest in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Arjay L. Balinbin