TWO road projects are expected to relieve Metro Manila’s main circumferential road, known as EDSA, of at least 20% of its vehicle load this year, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said.

The DPWH said the scheduled first-half completions of North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) Harbor Link and the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 will relieve EDSA of over 100,000 cars.

Public Works Secretary Mark A. Villar said in a briefing Wednesday: “By the second half of this year, we will relieve EDSA 20 to 30%. Malaki po ang improvement sa (There will be a big improvement in) EDSA and for the first year starting this year and in subsequent years, we will see continued improvements along EDSA.”

The Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 is an 18.30 kilometer expressway running from Buendia, Makati to Balintawak, Quezon City, enabling travel time of 15-20 minutes for Makati to Balintawak. The target completion date of Skyway Stage 3 is April or May.

The new skyway is expected to remove 100,000 cars from EDSA. Current EDSA usage is about half a million cars daily, well above the road’s estimated daily capacity of 288,000.

Meanwhile, the NLEX Harbor Link’s first ramp will be ready by February and its entire length will be available by March or April. This road is expected to speed up travel from Port Area to NLEX from an estimated 1 hour and 30 minutes to just 10 minutes.

Mr. Villar said Harbor Link will further relieve city roads of trucks headed north of Metro Manila by allowing them a more direct route outside the city.

“We expect 30,000 vehicles a day, mostly trucks who will pass by NLEX Harbor Link… one truck is equivalent to four or five cars,” he said.

These two projects are among the 13 roads and expressways and 10 bridges undertaken to decongest EDSA, worth P384 billion in total. The DPWH said with these projects, “drastic improvements” will be seen along EDSA.

One of the bridges that is expected to drastically reduce congestion on EDSA is the Bonifacio Global City-Ortigas Center Link and the Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge which will bypass a notorious bottleneck in Guadalupe, Makati. — Gillian M. Cortez