LRT-2 extension 77% complete

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Commuters at the LRT-2 Cubao station -- PHILIPPINE STAR/MICHAEL VARCAS

THE Department of Transportation (DoTr) said the East Extension of the Light Rail Transit Line 2 (LRT-2) is nearly 77% complete, with two new stations being built in Marikina and Antipolo expected to be finished by the end of the year.

The East Extension Project was “76.9% complete” as of January, Transportation Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John R. Batan told BusinessWorld in a recent interview.

The East Extension Project intends to add four kilometers to the 13.8-kilometer LRT-2 train line, connecting it to Antipolo City.

The two new stations are Emerald in Marikina City and Masinag at the Masinag Junction in Antipolo City.

“The East Extension will be operational by December of this year. It’s almost done. We are just installing the electro-mechanical systems,” Mr. Batan added.

The department is also preparing to buy 14 more train sets for the expanded LRT-2 line.

“We are buying 14 (train sets). Delivery will start from 2022 onwards,” he said.

“Separate procurement siya, ongoing pa. Wala pang selection. (The new trains are going through a separate procurement exercise, which is ongoing, with no selection made) It’s going to be funded out of the LRTA’s (Light Rail Transit Authority) budget. We are buying new trains because we need additional trains for the LRT-2,” he said.

Mr. Batan added four train sets from the current LRT-2 operation are being rehabilitated for immediate use by 2021.

“LRT-2 has 18 train sets. Out of the 18 train sets, eight are currently not operational; they are down. Four train sets are being rehabilitated. The four train sets will be our immediately available train sets by 2021,” he said.

The East Extension is expected to add 80,000 passengers to the current 240,000 daily ridership of the LRT-2, which currently connects Recto Avenue in Manila to Santolan station in Marikina. When complete, travel time from Recto to Masinag is expected to drop significantly, from the normal three hours by bus or jeepney, to about 40 minutes, the Transportation department said.

The consortium of Japan’s Marubeni Corp. and engineering and construction firm D.M. Consunji, Inc. are in charge of the $62-million (about P3.24-billion) East Extension Project.

D.M. Consunji is in charge of the trackwork procurement and construction, as well as the installation of electrical and mechanical systems.

Marubeni is responsible for the overall administration and procurement of railway systems as the consortium leader.

Marubeni also constructed the original LRT-2 line between 2000 and 2004.

The Japanese firm’s other projects in the country include the improvement and modernization of the Commuter Line South Project, and the LRT-1 capacity expansion project’s first and second phases. — Arjay L. Balinbin