By Denise A. Valdez
THE DEPARTMENT of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said a significant easing of traffic along Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) can be expected by the end of the year as it anticipates completion of several road projects that should help reduce significantly the volume of cars on Metro Manila’s main thoroughfare.
Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark A. Villar said at the 2019 Pre-SONA Economic and Infrastructure Forum in Pasay City on Monday that road projects now under way are expected to take out about 300,000 vehicles from EDSA each day.
“Ang pangako ni Presidente ay tatapusin niya ang traffic sa EDSA (The President has promised to put an end to EDSA traffic)… In order for us to do that, we computed: we need to take out 250,000-300,000 cars from EDSA daily in order to revert it back to acceptable level of traffic,” he said.
“The (Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3), once it’s completed, will reduce the traffic count by 100,000. When we finish the (North Luzon Expressway-South Luzon Expressway Connector Road), that is likely to reduce at least 50,000. When we finish the (Southeast Metro Manila Expressway C6), we will reduce another minimum of 50,000. When we build the bridges across Pasig, (the Santa Monica-Lawton Bridge), that will reduce another 50,000… When all these are finished, we would be able to bring back EDSA to its former state which is acceptable traffic.”
Asked how soon motorists could expect the reduction of traffic along EDSA, Mr. Villar replied: “We’ll see major improvements as early as late this year, and then it will continue next year up to the point that we finish the other projects.”
“Definitely before the end of the term of the President, malaki ang improvement sa traffic, lalo na sa Metro Manila (there will be significant improvement in traffic, especially in Metro Manila),” he added.
Data from the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) show about 385,000 vehicles use EDSA every day at any given hour, against its capacity of 240,000-250,000 vehicles a day.
Mr. Villar said the partial operations of new roads within the year — the 18.68-kilometer Skyway Stage 3 that will connect Gil Puyat Ave. in Makati City to the Balintawak area in Quezon City; the 7.7 km C5 South Link that will connect R-1 Expressway to C5; and the 2.6 km R-10 exit ramp of North Luzon Expressway Harbor Link Segment 10 that will connect C3’s stretch in Caloocan City to the R-10 segment in Navotas City — should help decongest EDSA.
Meanwhile, the DPWH issued an updated list of 10 public-private partnership (PPP) projects as of June in a newspaper bulletin yesterday. These are the Central Luzon Link Expressway; Quezon-Bicol Expressway; Davao-Digos Expressway; North Luzon Expressway East, Phase II; Metro Cebu Expressway operation and maintenance (O&M); Davao Bypass O&M; Mindoro-Batangas Super Bridge; Delpan-Pasig-Marikina Expressway; Batangas City-Bauan, Batangas Toll Road Project and Pacific Eastern Seaboard Expressway.
Mr. Villar said the DPWH has completed its feasibility study for the 220 km Quezon-Bicol Expressway that will link Lucena and Camarines Sur. The cost of the project will be determined by the Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). “The ICC requisite documents were submitted to NEDA for review and approval,” Mr. Villar said, saying that once this road is completed, “travel time between Tayabas, Quezon and San Fernando, Camarines Sur will be reduced by 2 hours.”