With Skyway, Quezon City just 6 minutes from MakatiBy Daxim L. Lucas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Imagine driving home at the end of a long working day during rush hour and traveling from Makati to certain parts of Quezon City in only six minutes. From Buendia to Balintawak, it will just be 10 minutes.
Motorists may soon be able to enjoy these drastically shortened travel times if the Aquino administration gives the go-ahead for the building of a six-lane elevated highway from Buendia (now called Gil Puyat Avenue) in Makati to Balintawak in Quezon City through the heart of the metropolis.
Documents obtained by the Philippine Daily Inquirer show that a Skyway-style project is being proposed by Citra-PNCC (Philippine National Construction Corp.) as part of the concession awarded to it when it built the overhead Skyway system along South Superhighway from Buendia to Bicutan in Parañaque City. The group finished the second leg from Bicutan to Alabang, Muntinlupa, early last year.
Dubbed the Citra-PNCC Alignment, or “CPA,” the elevated highway from Buendia to Balintawak will be built at no cost to the government, while the toll to be charged motorists will be capped at P99 for the entire 14-kilometer stretch.
The project is expected to cost P24 billion, which is significantly lower than the P35-billion price tag, including government subsidies, of a rival proposal named the connector road project.
The CPA’s proponents have promised to complete the entire project in 30 months from groundbreaking, well within the administration of President Benigno Aquino III.
The company said the project was designed primarily as a means of decongesting Edsa, where motorists usually would take an average of one-and-a-half hours to traverse in morning and evening rush-hour traffic.
The CPA project was confirmed by Citra-PNCC president and CEO Shadik Wahono, who said that his firm had conveyed the proposal to the government and was awaiting its response.
“Given the traffic situation around Metro Manila, we believe that everyone, not just motorists and commuters, will benefit from this project,” he said, when contacted by the Inquirer.
Wahono explained that the elevated highway was part of the original concession award by the government to Citra in the 1990s which resulted in the building of stages one and two of the Skyway system.
8 entrances, exits
Wahono pointed out that the CPA was superior to the rival 22-kilometer connector-road proposal which also sought to connect South Luzon Expressway to North Luzon Expressway, only at a higher cost to government and motorists.
The CPA will have eight entrances and exits that motorists can use: Buendia, Quirino Avenue, Plaza Dilao, Aurora Boulevard, E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue, Quezon Avenue, Sgt. Rivera Street and Balintawak.
“The connector-road proposal, meanwhile, only has three—in Quirino, España and 5th Avenue,” Wahono said.
The CPA has provisions for eventual expansion from the initial six lanes to a full-fledged 10 lanes with the addition of a third-level, four-lane roadway, said the
The infrastructure proposal also veers away from the connector road’s design which calls for the building of a four-lane elevated highway on the Philippine National Railways (PNR) line snaking through Metro Manila.
Wahono said that because of the 30-meter clearance requirement on either side of the PNR tracks, the connector road was limited to a width of four lanes, increasing the risk of traffic congestion in case of vehicular accidents.
“With the CPA, we will build the support columns in the median of existing wide avenues, resulting in minimal disruption,” he said.
In addition to potentially becoming one of the flagship infrastructure projects of the Aquino administration, the construction of the CPA will have a strong multiplier effect on the economy, given the workers it will employ, the raw materials that will be used, and the eventual increase in land values that the completed highway will indirectly cause, Wahono said.