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Metro Manila braces for new traffic jams as Skyway 3 starts

February 17, 2014 4:26am

Tags: MMDA
(Updated 11:22 a.m.) To ease traffic, road projects will first worsen traffic – in a big way. That's the exasperating reality facing Metro Manila commuters as the Skyway 3 extension project begins on Monday. 

The Skyway 3 will connect the North Luzon (NLex) and South Luzon Expressways (Slex)lwith an elevated expressway over Osmeña Highway, which links Slex with Manila's Quirino Avenue. But the project is expected to last at least two years.

The first phase of the construction work will occupy two southbound lanes of the highway from Vito Cruz to San Andres.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority has already placed signs in areas where traffic will be affected by the infrastructure work, radio dzBB reported.

The MMDA has reminded motorists of available alternate routes:

  • President Quirino Avenue
  • Pedro Gil St.
  • Macapagal Blvd.
  • Roxas Blvd.
  • Singalong St.
  • Leon Guinto St.
  • Taft Ave.

However, MMDA Traffic Engineering Center Director Noemi Recio said that roads will not yet be dug up on Monday.

“Huwag muna kayo maghukay. Bakudan niyo lang muna... para makita na muna natin ang epekto,” Recio explained. “Kasi 'pag pinabayaan nating magbakod at maghukay na (at) nagkaroon ng grid-locking, ang hirap mag-adjust kasi nagbakbak na.”

The Skyway 3 will be a six-lane fully elevated expressway with a length of 14.8 km.

The project will have eight interchanges and ramps at Buendia, Plaza Dilao, E. Rodriguez, Sgt. Rivera, Pres. Quirino, Aurora Blvd., Quezon Avenue, and Balintawak.

It will stretch from Buendia in Makati City to Balintawak in Quezon City.

Have patience, says Palace

On Sunday, Malacañang appealed to Metro Manila residents for patience as traffic in the area is expected to be heavy.

Herminio Coloma Jr., Presidential Communications Operations Office head, said the inconvenience is short term and will lead to faster travel and more productivity in the long run.

"We call on our people to share in the burden of sacrifice and bear with short-term inconvenience so we can build better roads that will ensure faster travel and more productive living in our highly congested National Capital Region," Coloma said on state-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

"Nananawagan tayo sa mga mamamayan na makiisa sa mga isasagawang proyektong pang-imprastruktura tulad ng Skyway III na mag-uumpisa bukas," Coloma said. 

MMDA careful to prevent overlapping of infra projects

The MMDA meanwhile assured motorists on Monday it is managing the timing of infrastructure projects in Metro Manila to prevent overlaps.
MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said in a radio interview they are taking steps to avoid the overlaps that he said could lead to gridlocks in several areas.
"Mina-manage natin para (ang trapik sa isang area) hindi mag-overlap sa isang lugar," he said in an interview on dzBB radio.
Tolentino cited the case of the Skyway 3 and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Expressway Phase 2, both in southern Metro Manila.

Tolentino said work on the NAIA Expressway started two weeks ago, while work on the Skyway is to start late Monday when roads near the project site are partially closed to traffic starting 10 p.m.
"Mahirap pagsabayin," Tolentino noted, referring to the timing of the two projects.
In the meantime, Tolentino sought understanding from commuters and motorists while the work is ongoing.
"Inaasahan natin 'pag nayari ito magdudulot ito ng kaginhawaan," he said.

In a separate interview, Tolentino estimated that motorists would be familiar with the alternative routes within four days.
"Tingin ko after four days mafa-familiarize na ang mga motorista natin kung saan dapat dumaan sa mga local roads," he said in an interview with GMA News TV's "News To Go."
Likewise, he noted that about 40 percent of motorists that usually ply the affected streets will take alternate roads.
‘Two years of traffic’
The Department of Public Works and Highways will be implementing a series of 15 road and infrastructure projects over the span of two years.
Among the projects in Metro Manila are:
  • Magallanes Interchange (repair, strengthening)
  • NLEX-SLEX Link Connector Road
  • South Superhighway (rehabilitation and improvement)
  • EDSA-Taft Avenue flyover
  • LRT 1 North Extension Project common station
  • Bonifacio Global City to Ortigas Center link road
  • LRT 2 East Extension Project
  • C2 (Governor Forbes Street) and R7 (España Blvd) Interchange
  • Sen. Gil Puyat Ave/Makati Ave.-Paseo de Roxas underpass
  • Integrated Transport System terminals in south and southwest
  • EDSA-Roosevelt Congressional Avenue Interchange
  • LRT 1 Cavite extension

In anticipation of this, the MMDA has proposed an adjustment of office schedules, GMA News reported Friday.

The MMDA also proposed a four-day school week to help ease traffic congestion in Metro Manila during this time..
Tolentino recommended to the Department of Education (DepEd) a Monday-to-Thursday school week for all elementary and high schools in Metro Manila, a GMA News TV report on Friday said.
The shortened school week will take effect for two years, if approved by the DepEd, while major infrastructure projects in the metro are under construction, the report added. 
Dry run at Skyway area
Meanwhile, the Skyway said the MMDA and Toll Regulatory Board are to conduct a dry run of the Stage 3 project Monday afternoon.
It said 350 meters of the inner lane of F. Torres to Arellano will be closed at 3 p.m.  — with Rouchelle R. Dinglasan/DVM/KG/HS, GMA News

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