THE Aquino administration has approved the contract for the P26.5-billion Metro Manila Skyway (MMS) Stage 3 Project that will connect the Southern Luzon Expressway (SLEX) to the Northern Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and help decongest major highways in the metropolis.
“Our President is committed to build infrastructure that will ease the worsening traffic congestion and to enhance economic opportunities,” Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said in a statement. “This Skyway project will surely do both,” Abaya said of the project, to be built under the government’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) scheme.
Skyway 3 is different from the connector project of the Manila Pacific Tollways Corp., which is a 13.4-km, four-lane elevated expressway.
The MMS Stage 3 construction will be fully funded by Citra Central Expressway Corp. and overseen by the DOTC and the Toll Regulatory Board.
The mostly elevated six-lane expressway is expected to help decongest Epifanio delos Reyes Avenue (EDSA) and other major roads such as Quezon Avenue, Araneta Avenue, Nagtahan, and Quirino Avenue, reducing travel time from Buendia Avenue Ext. to Balintawak from the usual two hours or more to just 15 minutes.
MMS has an approximate length of 14.2 kilometers and will help reduce pollution, provide greater comfort and safety to motorists, and result in large savings in travel time, fuel and vehicle maintenance costs. It will also provide around 6,000 direct jobs and additional indirect jobs of around 10,000 during construction.
A report released by the Japan International Cooperation Agency this year estimated that around P2.4 billion worth of economic and opportunity losses are incurred daily due to traffic congestion in Metro Manila.
The project is estimated to be completed in three years as preparatory and advance works will begin before the end of 2013 while round-the-clock construction works are expected to begin by early second quarter in 2014.
Abaya said the first section of the roadway from Buendia to Nagtahan may be opened for service by early 2016.
“Other projects such as the construction of the Tarlac to La Union Expressway (TPLEX) and the widening and improvement of the Batangas expressway (STAR) are ongoing,” Abaya added.