San Miguel Corp. (SMC) and the government broke ground on the 19.37-kilometer Pasig River Expressway (PAREX) project on Friday.

“PAREX will be built to accommodate more than just motor vehicles. Once complete, it will feature a bus rapid transit system that will benefit commuters all over Metro Manila,” SMC said in a statement.

The supplemental toll operations agreement for the PAREX project was signed on Sept. 21.

The project is a six-lane elevated expressway that will run from Radial Road 10 in the city of Manila to Circumferential Road 6, also known as the future South East Metro Manila Expressway (SEMME) in Taguig. It will run along the banks of the Pasig River.

“Once operational, PAREX will link the eastern and western cities of Metro Manila and will connect to the Skyway system, realizing the vision of an integrated elevated road network that will link the north, south, east, and west corridors of the capital,” SMC said.

“The expressway will also have dedicated bike lanes to encourage healthy, environment-friendly modes of personal transportation, as well as pedestrian walkways to encourage walking or exercise,” it added.

The conglomerate has allotted P2 billion to rehabilitate the Pasig River.

It is also planning to expand water transport through ferries that will connect Metro Manila’s main waterways like Laguna de Bay, the Pasig River, Manila Bay, and the Marikina River. – Arjay L. Balinbin