Build, Build, Build: Eight road projects in Luzon expected to be completed in the next 12 months
By ANNA MAE LAMENTILLO
A Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) report released in 2012 indicated that the Philippines lost P2.4 billion a day due to traffic congestion in Metro Manila. Six years after, a study conducted by JICA said the number had gone up to P3.5 billion. Now, road usage in Metro Manila is at about 13.4 million trips per day and could go as high as 16.1 million in 17 years. Absent any infrastructure intervention, economic losses could also rise up to P5.4 billion in 2035.
But in 2018, JICA Chief Representative to the Philippines Susumu Ito noted that with the Build Build Build program of the Duterte administration, the country could actually reverse the trend. Ito said the losses will be reduced to P3 billion with its completion and could go back to P2.4 billion with the opening of additional infrastructure projects.
The “Build, Build, Build” program is the Duterte administration’s medium-term goal to increase infrastructure spending from 5.4 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2017, to 7.3 percent by the end of 2022. This is higher than the 2.4 percent average recorded by the past six administrations in the last five decades — and the highest budget allocation for infrastructure in Philippine history.
For instance, In 2011, the budget allocated for the capital outlay of the Department of Public Works and Highways was only 90.67 B. In 2017, this was increased to 428.40 B.
Three years after President Duterte launched its Build Build Build program, computer-generated blueprints which were once used to present a vision are turning into actual roads, bridges, airports, and flood control projects.
In fact, Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar reported the completion of 9,845 kms of road, 2,709 bridges, 4,536 flood control projects, 82 evacuation centres, and 71,803 classrooms since June 2016.
Metro Manila Master Plan
When Secretary Mark Villar first laid out the plan for the Luzon Spine Expressway, an 888.26 km network of High-Standard Highways in Luzon — about twice the existing network of 382 km, the objective was to ensure every major city in Metro Manila is connected within a 20 to 30 minute timeframe and that travel time from Ilocos to Bicol is reduced by half from 19 hours and 40 minutes to 8 hours and 15 minutes.
Skyway Stage 3
The Plaza Dilao Ramp of Skyway Stage 3, an 18.68-kilometer elevated expressway stretched over Metro Manila from Buendia, Makati City, to Balintawak, Quezon City, is already open to the public. When completed in its entirety, the project will reduce travel time from Buendia, Makati City to Balintawak, Quezon City, from the current two hours to just 15 to 20 minutes.
The project which is expected to be substantially completed by 2019 will have eight access ramps/interchanges strategically located as follows: Buendia Avenue (South Super Highway, Makati City), Pres. Quirino Avenue (Malate, Manila), Plaza Dilao (Paco, Manila), Nagtahan/Aurora Boulevard (Manila), E. Rodriguez Avenue (Quezon City), Quezon Avenue (Quezon City), Sgt. Rivera St. (Quezon City), and NLEX.
NLEX Harbor Spur Link
The 2.6-km NLEX Harbor Spur Link, which connects to the existing 5.58-km NLEX Harbor Link connecting Karuhatan in Valenzuela City to C3 Road in Caloocan City is also about to be completed.
The first truck-graded expressway is expected to reduce travel time from Port Area in Manila to Quezon City from 1.5 hours to only 10 mins.
Tarlac – Pangasinan La Union Expressway
The project, which was partially opened in December 2017, starts from Tarlac City and traverses Gerona in Tarlac, Rosales, Urdaneta, and Pozzorubio in Pangasinan and Rosario in La Union. When completed, it is expected to reduce travel time from Manila to La Union from 6 hours to only 3.5 hours. It is also expected to cut travel time from Tarlac to La Union from 3.5 hours to just an hour, benefitting an average of 20,000 vehicles per day.
Central Luzon Link Expressway – Phase 1
The 30-km four-lane expressway will reduce travel time between Tarlac City and Cabanatuan City from 70 minutes to 20 minutes, decongesting traffic passing thru Daang Maharlika by about 48%.
Mindanao Avenue Extension
The 3.52 km highway traversing Mindanao Avenue Extension and Gen Luis Avenue in Caloocan is expected to significantly reduce travel time from Quezon City to Caloocan.
Phase 1 of the road project will cover about 1.34 kilometer of the Lawton Avenue which has a total length of 3.54 kilometers that follows a part of the alignment of the old Nichols route running roughly southwest to northeast from the interchange of SLEX/Skyway to Fifth Avenue and Manila American Cemetery Memorial.
The first section of the Cavitex C5 Southlink — the 2.2-kilometer flyover crossing South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) traversing Taguig and Pasay City – has been opened this July. The construction of the next 2.1 km section between Merville and Sucat, Las Piñas City will soon start, and eventually connect to the Paranaque side of Cavitex by 2022.
Katipunan Avenue Extension
The Phase 1 of the 6.75 km road project traversing Katipunan Avenue to Batasan-San Mateo Road is expected to cut travel time from Katipunan to Commonwealth and Fairview by at least 20%.