SAN MIGUEL Corp. (SMC) said Monday it expects to complete the northbound section of the P10-billion Skyway Extension project by December.

“Despite delays brought on by the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) global pandemic, SMC is on track to deliver the entire northbound section of the Skyway Extension project by December this year,” the company said in a statement, referring to the section of the project from the Soldiers’ Hills area to the Sucat Mainline Toll Plaza.

It said construction at the northbound section is now at an “accelerated pace” to meet the target.

“Originally, target completion for the section was July 2020, but this was delayed due to the enhanced community quarantine starting mid-March,” SMC noted.

The company expects to complete the entire Skyway Extension project by the “middle of next year.”

The project aims to extend the Skyway from Susana Heights on the South Luzon Expressway to Sucat and back and provide direct access to the elevated section of the Skyway. Construction of the four-kilometer elevated viaduct started in June last year.

Once fully completed, the project’s three new northbound lanes will be able to accommodate an additional 4,500 vehicles per hour. The two additional southbound lanes will be able accommodate an additional 3,000 vehicles per hour.

SMC President Ramon S. Ang said: “Because of the delays and restrictions brought on by the lockdown, we’ve had to make a lot of adjustments. But we are on track to deliver the entire northbound section of the Skyway Extension by the end of this year.”

“When we open this northbound section, motorists will enjoy smoother and faster trips from Calamba going to Makati and other parts of Metro Manila. By improving traffic flow and reducing congestion, this project will also help in accelerating trade and tourism, particularly south of Metro Manila. That is something we need to further help our economy during this pandemic, and after it,” the businessman added.

The company said it will have to close starting Aug. 24 at 10:00 a.m. the northbound Skyway on-ramp section before Sucat in the vicinity of Amkor Anam.

“With the closure, northbound class 1 vehicles (ordinary cars) may continue to access the steel ramp towards the elevated section of the Skyway. All class 2 vehicles including buses and vans meanwhile should take the At-Grade section,” it added.

A new traffic scheme will be implemented to ease travel conditions during the closure of the northbound on-ramp.

Open 24/7 are Steel Ramp (for class 1 vehicles only), Hillsborough Southbound Ramp, and Alabang – Zapote Southbound Ramp.

The Steel Ramp Southbound will be open from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

The Alabang-Zapote Northbound Ramp will be open from 9:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. the following day.

“To ensure responsiveness to actual traffic situations at any given time, Skyway said that the traffic scheme may be changed from time to time depending on traffic volume,” SMC said. — Arjay L. Balinbin