By Denise A. Valdez, Reporter

SAN MIGUEL Corp. (SMC) is seeking to build an elevated expressway along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) as a direct alternative to the heavily congested 23-kilometer highway.

Ramon S. Ang, president and chief operating officer of SMC, told reporters yesterday the company targets to submit a proposal to the Department of Transportation (DoTr) for a 10-lane, five-by-five expressway along EDSA.

“Details noon, we will be submitting to DoTr siguro (We’ll submit its details to the DoTr either) Monday or Tuesday,” he said.

Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade mentioned the project during the signing ceremony for SMC’s Bulacan airport project yesterday when he was asked about the government’s plans to help ease Metro Manila traffic.

Yung elevated EDSA, pinag-uusapan namin ’yan… Meron nang prototype ’yan (We’ve been talking about that project That has a prototype already). But in due time, we will make the announcements,” he said, refusing to provide details yesterday.

Transportation Undersecretary for Planning Ruben S. Reinoso, Jr. said the plan is to build a “Skyway” that will link the Manila-Cavite Expressway (CAVITEx) to the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) in Balintawak, Quezon City.

It will be an elevated, steel toll road built higher than the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3), which runs along EDSA as well. “Kaya parang Lego ’yun. Poste lang itatayo mo (It would be like Lego. You only need to put up the posts),” he said.

Mr. Reinoso added the expressway will have dedicated lanes that will operate a bus rapid transit system. This is seen to help reduce traffic for commuters plying EDSA and riding the MRT-3.

Once SMC finalizes its submission to the government and the project is approved, Mr. Tugade said he wants the expressway to be partially operable within 30 months.

Meron kaming usapan para ipakita ang sincerity (We have an agreement to show our sincerity). The government can buy it back, the project, at any time at cost,” he said.

Mr. Reinoso explained this means if the government finds the project viable, it will consider paying SMC the cost of the project to own and operate the facility.

The Metro Manila Development Authority said in July there are about 385,000 vehicles passing through EDSA every day at any given hour. This exceeds the highway’s designed capacity of only 240,000 to 250,000 vehicles a day.

Aside from the elevated EDSA, SMC is also currently building Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3: an 18.68-kilometer toll road from Buendia, Makati City to Balintawak, Quezon City, which is scheduled for completion by early 2020.