Wednesday, December 1, 2021
Home3PL/4PLSMC begins work on road linking Skyway 3 to NLEX Connector

SMC begins work on road linking Skyway 3 to NLEX Connector

  • Work on a 1.2-kilometer (km) road that will connect Skyway Stage 3 to the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) Connector project has started
  • The road connection can be completed within 24 months pending resolution of right-of-way issues
  • The connection is targeted for completion around the time the NLEX Connector road is completed in 2022

Work has started on a 1.2-kilometer (km) road connection that will link its 18-km Skyway Stage 3 to the ongoing 8-km North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) Connector project of Metro Pacific Tollways, according to San Miguel Corp. (SMC).

In a statement, the company said work on the road connection has begun despite pending right-of-way acquisition (ROW) negotiations that have delayed construction of the vital link, located in the areas of Nagtahan to Sta. Mesa in Manila.

Even as the company negotiates to settle these ROW issues, SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang said it is “working on what’s workable,” that is, starting work on available areas and employing a “just-in-time” sequence as it anticipates the timely delivery of the ROW.

Part of the detailed engineering design of the Skyway 3 project, the connection, can be completed within 24 months as soon as the ROW issues with the landowners are resolved, Ang said.

RELATED: All seven lanes of Skyway Stage 3 linking SLEX and NLEX to open Jan 15

“Originally, this was supposed to be delivered December 2020, but it’s now pushed back. But we want to assure the public and government that we will do everything to complete it in less than 24 months, once we get the ROW,” he added.

“We’re already mobilizing our contractors to start work in areas that are unobstructed, where we’re permitted to work. We’re also already committing the funds needed to buy the ROW properties, so hopefully, these issues will be resolved the soonest,” Ang said.

“This connection is vital because it will link two major expressways, Skyway Stage 3 and the Metro Pacific Tollways’ connector road project—making accessibility, interoperability, and ease of travel even better for the public.”

Metro Pacific’s NLEX Connector is a second elevated expressway that will further link the northern and southern parts of Metro Manila. The expressway project runs from C3 road all the way to Sta. Mesa in Manila.

According to Ang, ROW acquisition was the single biggest constraint to the Skyway Stage 3 project. While advance work was started in 2014, actual work on the main sections 1-4 only began in 2015 because of ROW issues. The company mitigated the delays by starting construction in “available” areas to improve the chances of completing the project as soon as possible.

However, a lot of ROW issues remained unsettled, prompting numerous realignments and redesigns. SMC also paid for all the ROW properties and spent for the transfer of vital utilities as well as reconstruction of three bridges just to complete Skyway 3.

Ang explained that the alignment for this connection to the NLEX Connector project was supposed to be built together with Section 2 of Skyway 3 in the Nagtahan to Sta. Mesa area.

“However, about two years since we first worked on workable areas for Skyway 3, the ROW issue in section 2 threatened to stall the project. That is why we proposed to realign Skyway 3 along the San Juan River, so that the project could be completed faster and provide a solution to traffic—not cause more of it.”

To show its commitment to complete the connection even if the main alignment was moved along the San Juan River, Ang said SMC signed a memorandum of agreement (MPA) with the Toll Regulatory Board and Department of Public Works and Highways.

“We basically already committed the budget for the ROW acquisition—we will pay for it—and we will complete this section within 24 months,” Ang said.

Ideally, Ang said the connection should be completed before or by the time the NLEX Connector road is completed.

READ: First section of NLEX Connector project for completion by yearend

NLEX Corp., a subsidiary of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., earlier said construction of the first 5-km section of the NLEX Connector from Caloocan Interchange on C3 to España in Manila is being accelerated to meet the project’s completion target set for the end of the year.

ROW delivery for the whole alignment stands at 81%, while construction progress is at 16%, NLEX Corp. said.

The P23-billion NLEX Connector will be an all-vehicle class elevated expressway that will traverse C3 Road in Caloocan City, pass through Abad Santos, Blumentritt, Dimasalang, España, and Magsaysay Boulevard, and eventually connect to the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 in the area of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Sta. Mesa, Manila. The entire expressway is set to be finished by 2022.

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