By Arjay L. Balinbin, Senior Reporter

THE COMPLETION of a P8.79-billion project that aims to build elevated walkways along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) will be pushed back by nearly two years to 2024, as the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) now only allows utility relocation work at night, the Transportation department said.

“The project timeline completion was extended from December 2022 to November 2024 because MMDA only allowed night works schedule for the utility relocation versus the original plan of 24/7 works,” the Department of Transportation (DoTr) said in a document detailing the EDSA Greenways project’s progress obtained by BusinessWorld on Saturday.

The EDSA Greenways involves the construction of elevated walkways at four mass transit stations, namely the Balintawak station of Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1, Cubao station of Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3), Guadalupe station of MRT-3, and Taft station of MRT-3 and LRT-1.

The DoTr noted that having 24/7 and simultaneous relocation of underground and aboveground utilities, including electricity, drainage, and telecommunications, may require more lane closures along the already traffic-clogged EDSA.

“A consecutive sequence of relocation works was envisaged instead of simultaneous works. Moreover, new information of the estimated relocation timelines provided by the utility service providers were also added in the overall project timeline,” the department added.

The government is planning to bid out the design-and-build and construction supervision consultancy packages of the EDSA Greenways project in September 2021, the DoTr said.

The design-and-build contract is targeted to begin by March 2022, starting with “site mobilization” or the preparatory stage prior to the civil works, which are expected to commence in July of that year.

“The partial operability is at Guadalupe station with the completion of Landing 2 from MRT-3 to Guadalupe Commercial Complex, and at Cubao station with the completion of Footbridge 1 at EDSA corner Monte de Piedad Street to the Five Star Bus terminal,” the DoTr said.

The DoTr said it anticipates that the walkway at the Guadalupe station will be partially open by February 2023, with Cubao station following in July of the same year.

The DoTr has already received no objection letters from the local government units (LGU) of Pasay City, Quezon City and Caloocan City. It is still waiting for the no objection letter for the project from Makati City LGU.

The total cost of the EDSA Greenways project, as approved by the National Economic and Development Authority, is P8.793 billion, with P6.954 billion coming from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the ASEAN Infrastructure Fund. The remaining P1.839 billion will be funded by the government.

The DoTr said an amount of P1 billion, under the General Appropriations Act 2021, is allocated for the utility relocation costs to be incurred by the utility service providers.

The P4.953-billion ADB loan “will be utilized for the civil works/build and design construction of the EDSA Greenways Project,” it added.