THE Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is scheduling to open a portion of the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 within the month.

After an inspection of the road works on Friday, DPWH Secretary Mark A. Villar said in a statement that the Plaza Dilao ramp in Manila may be opened this July.

“Construction of Skyway Stage 3 is in full blast. We are working 24/7 to deliver the infrastructure this July,” he was quoted in the statement as saying.

The Skyway Stage 3 project is an 18.68-kilometer elevated toll road that will connect Gil Puyat Ave. (formerly Buendia) in Makati City to the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) toll plaza in Balintawak, Quezon City.

Private concessionaire Citra Central Expressway Corp. (CCEC), a unit of San Miguel Corp., earlier said that substantial completion of the project is expected by the end of the year. The partial opening will cover the portion connecting Gil Puyat to EDSA in Balintawak.

For the remaining segment from Balintawak to the NLEx toll plaza, the target completion date is within the first quarter of next year.

“Section 1 from Buendia Ave. in Makati City to Quirino Ave. in Nagtahan, Manila is now 83% completed, while Section 3 from Ramon Magsaysay Ave. to Balintawak is 81% completed,” Mr. Villar said in the statement.

Skyway Stage 3 will have eight access ramps: along Gil Puyat Ave. (South Super Highway, Makati City), Pres. Quirino Ave. (Malate, Manila), Plaza Dilao (Paco, Manila), Nagtahan/Aurora Boulevard (Manila), E. Rodriguez Ave. (Quezon City), Quezon Ave. (Quezon City), Sgt. Rivera St. (Quezon City), and NLEx.

Once the whole alignment is completed, it is expected to reduce travel time from Buendia to Balintawak to 15-20 minutes from the current two hours. — Denise A. Valdez