THE Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) Cavite Extension is estimated to have incurred up to P4 billion in additional costs due to delays imposed by the pandemic, Light Rail Manila Corp. (LRMC) said.

LRMC President and Chief Executive Officer Juan F. Alfonso said, “the cost will definitely be higher …  because of the pandemic … I think around P2-P4 billion additional cost.”

On Thursday, LRMC said that the 6.6-kilometer first phase of the Cavite Extension project was 82.7% complete as of March 31.

“We remain optimistic that we can start commercial operations of Phase 1 by the fourth quarter of 2024,” Mr. Alfonso said in a briefing on Thursday.

The company started building the 11.7-kilometer, three-phase project in September 2019, Mr. Alfonso said.

“Despite the challenges we have encountered, we remain focused and committed to deliver on our promise of upgrading the commuter experience,” he said.

The construction progress for the five stations in the first phase of the Cavite Extension are as follows: Redemptorist Station 56%, Manila International Airport 61%, Asia World 51%, Ninoy Aquino Station 55%, and Dr. Santos Station 60%.

LRMC said that it has invested P30 billion in capital improvement projects since it took over the operations and maintenance of the LRT-1.

For 2023, LRMC plans to complete the civil works and equipment installation for the first phase of the LRT-1 Cavite Extension project.

“The target this year is to complete all civil and equipment installation works so we can focus on commissioning the entire line by next year,” Mr. Alfonso said.

LRMC said that it has achieved a progress rate of 83% on the civil and rail system works for the first phase.

Mr. Alfonso said that LRMC has spent over P29 billion for the first phase of the project. Total cost for the entire 11.7-kilometer line is estimated at P64.9 billion. — Justine Irish D. Tabile