By Emmie V. Abadilla
San Miguel Corporation (SMC) yesterday) announced it’s ready to roll out medium- to long-term expansion programs boosting the capacity of its southern Metro Manila toll roads to ease traffic congestion in the metropolis.
SMC’s infrastructure arm is now ready to implement expansion plans for the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), Skyway system, NAIA Expressway (NAIAX) and the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (SLEX) and is just waiting for the go-signal from government, SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang confirmed.
“All technical studies for the expansion of all our southern Metro Manila toll roads are now complete and ready for construction. We’re just waiting to get final approval for each of these projects from the Toll Regulatory Board,” he elaborated.
Infra unit San Miguel Holdings Corp. can complete the massive expansion in three years.
These projects are expected to decongest not just traditional chokepoints along the expressway network – such as the Alabang viaduct, the Sucat and Bicutan interchanges, Magallanes, the C-5 entrance and exit to SLEX, and the NAIAx entry to Skyway — but also ease traffic on public roads leading to these major entry and exit points.
“There is no stopping the Philippines’ growth. With this, more people will be travelling, more goods will be transported, so we expect that traffic volume will just get worse,” Ang noted.
“The expansion of these major expressways is long overdue. But we’ve done our homework, we’ve invested to complete the studies and designs, and we’ve submitted all of these to the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) for their review. All these projects can be completed within three years, provided government gives us the green light to proceed right away,” he added.
SMC is looking to add a fifth lane each to both the southbound and northbound lanes of SLEX to Calamba exit, effectively widening it to ten lanes.
The R130-million first phase of the project, from Alabang to Susana Heights can be completed in just one year. The project involves extending the width of the expressway towards its perimeter fence.
The remaining section all the way to Calamba can be completed by 2021, if government approves it at the soonest possible time.
The company said that it has already started bidding out construction of the project to contractors.
To solve perennial congestion on the elevated Skyway system, the company submitted plans and designs to widen the elevated Skyway from Alabang to Sucat by two lanes as well as extend it to the Alabang viaduct.
This will bring the total number of elevated lanes to 63 lanes each way – with provision for a seventh lane. This project can be completed in three years.
The company also submitted engineering plans and completed detailed design to extend the new NAIA Expressway all the way to Bonifacio Global City.
This is seen to ease traffic on the Sales Bridge and lessen travel time from the Coastal Road, Airport Terminal 1, 2 & 3, and SM Mall of Asia areas to Bonifacio Global City (BGC) to just 10 minutes.
The project aims to decongest Magallanes and the EDSA-Pasay area.
Also included is the additional NAIAX ramps extension from the NAIA Terminal 1and 2 areas all the way to SM Sucat, where it can link up with the C5 extension.
This will benefit motorists heading to Sucat, Las Piñas, and C-5 who usually spend anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour just getting out of gridlock along airport roads.
Finally, SMC will build a down ramp from the northbound elevated Skyway towards C-5/BGC.
The project, which involves the construction of a one-lane ramp, will take 1 ½ years to complete.
“All these projects are ready for implementation. These are all just improvements/extensions of existing expressways, so we are hoping that the TRB can review and act on our submissions at the soonest possible time,” according to Ang.
“We’re committed to finishing these on schedule and we are confident that these projects will greatly improve the traffic situation in Metro Manila which our countrymen have had to endure for many years.”
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