THE government signed on Wednesday an agreement with a contractor tasked to build the last component of the so-called Unified Grand Central Station — previously known as the common station for the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT) lines, with the station due to open in late 2020.
The Department of Transportation (DoTr) and the consortium of BF Corp. and Foresight Development and Surveying Co. (BFC-FDSC) signed the P2.8-billion deal for Area A of the common station in North Avenue, Quezon City.
The common station will link four train lines: LRT-1, MRT-3, MRT-7, and eventually, the Metro Manila Subway. It will have three sections that are being built separately: Area A by BFC-FDSC, Area B by Ayala Corp. and Area C by San Miguel Corp., the concessionaire for the MRT-7 project.
DoTr Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John R. Batan said adding the subway to the train lines that are linked to the common station requires an expansion of the lot size of Area B, which will serve as the common concourse, from 7,000 square meters (sq. m.) to 14,000 sq. m.
“When we were planning for only three lines to connect with the common station, we estimated foot traffic at 500,000 in the opening year in 2020. (But the subway) means we need to accommodate 1.2 million passengers a day,” he said.
On the subway, Mr. Batan said department officials are scheduled to go to Japan next week to meet with the Japanese government to discuss the groundbreaking, originally scheduled for mid-January but moved due to “scheduling issues.”
“We’re coordinating with the Japanese on the scheduling. (But) they have started working on the design,” he said.
At the same event, Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade announced that the department will inaugurate the Tutuban-Malolos portion of the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) on Friday.
“On Friday, we will be inaugurating… the Tutuban-Malolos portion of the Tutuban-Clark Railway. This is again one project that has been long delayed,” he said.
Mr. Tugade said the department has arranged for Sumitomo Mitsui Construction Co., Ltd. to build the train line, which will run 38 kilometers from Manila to Bulacan with 10 stops.
Mr. Batan said the NSCR project costs P777.55 billion, covering the 56 kilometers from Calamba to Tutuban, 38 kilometers from Tutuban to Malolos and 53 kilometers from Malolos to Clark. — Denise A. Valdez