P160-B TRAFFIC SOLUTIONS

FIRST the good news: the government has allotted P160.8- B to address traffic woes in Metro Manila through a series of road-widening projects and construction of flyovers, underpasses and interchanges.

Now the bad news: since there will be a wave of construction works in different areas, traffic gridlocks are bound to get worse than it is today for the next three years.

The total tab: somewhere around P160.8 billion. 

“We are on our way.  This year, we are spending P160.8 billion for traffic decongestion. It’s a big investment of the government for infrastructure projects,” DPWH Secretary Mark Villar has announced recently.

These infrastructure projects will not only solve the city traffic but will change the landscape nationwide, the secretary also noted.

 

Long-overdue

Several projects are long overdue such as the P3.03-B proposed 1.2 kilometers flyover spanning EDSA corner Taft Avenue and Malibay Bridge in Makati City to F.B. Harrison Street in Pasay City. 

Originally targeted to be completed in time for the Asia Pacific Economic Community (APEC) summit last November 2015, the project had been put on hold “indefinitely” due to concerns that it would worsen traffic along the EDSA-Pasay Rotonda intersection.

This time, however, under Villar’s leadership, the agency has put the flyover project back on its priority measures to ease traffic congestion along EDSA.

 

BGC-Ortigas Center Connection

Another “overdue” project is an ambitious bridge that will link two of the busiest business hubs in Metro Manila –the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City and the Ortigas business center in Pasig City.

While the proposal of a bridge connecting the two business centers had been brought up since the Aquino administration, the proposals had floundered in the face of public opposition from residents who fear that the bridge would worsen traffic and security problems around Kapitolyo in Pasig City area.

In early August of last year, however, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia announced the inclusion of the project among the measures that the infrastructure committee of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) had recommended to address the traffic problem at EDSA.

The two-phase project linking BGC and Ortigas Center is expected to absorb 25 percent of Edsa’s daily traffic volume, NEDA had pointed out.

Phase one will connect Sta. Monica Street in Kapitolyo, Pasig City to Lawton Avenue in Makati, while the second phase will run from Lawton to the Bonifacio Global City viaduct, then from Shaw Boulevard to the Sta. Monica viaduct.

 

Easing Katipunan Avenue’s gridlock

Also on the DPWH’s priority list is the construction of a viaduct along Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City, which is expected to ease the perennial gridlock along the area.

The DPWH is now proposing to build a four-lane viaduct along Katipunan Avenue from Ateneo de Manila University Gate 3 near Miriam College.

Situated near three of the largest educational institutions in the country – the University of the Philippines, the Ateneo de Manila University, and Miriam College –Katipunan Avenue has long been a headache for students and parents due to traffic jams especially during rush hour.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has blamed the heavy Katipunan traffic on the many U-turn slots in the area, as well as the high volume of trucks that pass through the road.

 

Temporary Hardship

Aside from massive infrastructure projects falling under the Duterte administration’s “BuildBuildBuild” program, DPWH has also allocated P18.8 billion for convergence and rural road development, P95.9 billion for integrated and seamless transport system and P104.4 billion for livable, sustainable and resilient communities.

Such projects must be taken seriously and with speed if the government wishes to avoid the massive economic losses experts had continually warned if Metro Manila’s traffic situation were not solved.

A study by Japan International Cooperation Agency had earlier warned that traffic congestion was costing the economy P2.4 billion daily in terms of lost productivity.  

Without intervention, JICA estimates the traffic costs to increase to P6 billion a day. 

And should these massive infrastructure projects cause a bit of more misery and hardship for Metro Manila’s motorists and commuters, they should be comforted with the assurance of a faster flow of traffic once these projects are completed. (With reports from Ehlorra Mangahas)

 

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