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DOTr breaks ground for Metro Manila Subway project

The much-awaited Metro Manila Subway project — the country’s very first underground railway system — has finally broke ground on Wednesday.

The Metro Manila Subway groundbreaking has been reset several times. It was supposed to take place in December 2018 but was rescheduled to mid-January 2019.

The groundbreaking was delayed due to conflict of schedules with Japanese officials, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade earlier said.

The flagship project under the Duterte Administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program will be built with the support of the Government of Japan through an Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan amounting to ¥104.530-billion or P51-billion loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

During a ceremony in Valenzuela City, Transportation Undersecretary Timothy John Batan said the Department of Transportation signed with the Shimizu Joint Venture the main contract for the design and build of the Metro Manila Subway’s partial operability section or the depot and the first three stations of the project on February 20, 2019.

Under the design-build contract, the Joint Venture of Shimizu Corporation, Fujita Corporation, Takenaka Civil Engineering Co., Ltd., and EEI Corporation will design and build the first three stations, tunnel structures, the subway’s Valenzuela Depot, and the facilities of the Philippine Railway Institute.

The first three stations are Quirino Highway-Mindanao Avenue Station, Tandang Sora Station, and North Avenue Station.

Partial operability of the Metro Manila Subway with its first three stations is targeted for 2022, while full operations of all 15 stations will be in 2025, according to Batan.

In its first year of full operations, the subway is expected to serve up to 370,000 passengers daily, but has a design capacity to accommodate up to 1.5 million passengers per day, he added.

The Metro Manila Subway will span 36 kilometers, comprised of a total of 15 stations from Quirino Highway in Quezon City to NAIA Terminal 3 in Pasay and FTI in Taguig.

The subway will cross seven local governments, and passing through three of Metro Manila’s business districts.

Trains are seen to have a speed of up to 80 kilometers per hour, making the travel time from Quezon City to NAIA Terminal 3 to go down to as short as 30 minutes.

The initial 19 train sets will consist of eight cars with a capacity of 2,000 passengers, Batan said, adding the DOTr has the option to increase the number of cars in each train sets to 10 since the stations are designed for a 10-car train.

Considering Metro Manila’s exposure to weather and seismic events, a condition very similar to that of Japan, the Metro Manila Subway will also employ proven Japanese technologies to make the system resilient against natural disasters.

Last week, Arthur Tugade inspected Tunnel Boring Machines (TBM), subway flood control equipment, and other technological advancements and practices in railway operations during his visit to Osaka, Japan.

During the ceremony, he said the TBMs will be delivered to the country in three to four months. This will fast-track the construction of the subway project.

The Cabinet official also emphasized that since it will use Japanese technology and expertise, the subway will be flood- and earthquake-resilient. —KBK, GMA News