14-km pipe repairs on Edsa? Hold on, says MMDA chief

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Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chair Francis Tolentino on Friday showed signs of reluctance in approving the massive rehabilitation plan of Manila Water Co., which could worsen traffic conditions on the oft-congested Edsa for months or even years.

In an Inquirer interview, Tolentino said Manila Water should first consider other alternatives in implementing its 14-kilometer pipe-laying project on the 23-km highway.

This was a day after the traffic committee of the Metro Manila Council, MMDA’s policy making body, met with officials of the water concessionaire for the east zone of Metro Manila concerning efforts to rehabilitate the 50-year-old underground pipeline running along Edsa. (See also Heard on Radyo Inquirer on Page 19)

Manila Water on Friday said it wanted to replace the pipes ahead of the repairs to be undertaken by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) on Edsa, which may take at least 16 months.

The work on the pipeline could be finished in seven months if done seven days a week, and two years and two months if allowed only on weekends, according to the firm’s spokesperson, Jeric Sevilla.

“In the last two years, there were at least 50 leakage incidents in the main pipelines. This year alone, we observed five,” Sevilla said.

“The best time to do this is in summer when the traffic volume is lower,” Sevilla said, adding that the pipe-laying is part of the preparatory phase of the Edsa rehabilitation project of the DPWH which President Aquino ordered deferred last week.

Tolentino, whose approval is needed before Manila Water could proceed, said the company should consider using exposed pipes like the type already in use in Cavite province, or the so-called “trench-less technology” wherein damage to roads is minimized.

Exposed water pipes, for example, would be easier to maintain since leaks can easily be remedied with sealant, he said.

“We are not against the improvements. But the disruption and traffic (caused by both the DPWH and Manila Water repair works) until 2016 would already be difficult and unbearable for the people,” Tolentino said.

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Tags: Edsa , Infrastructure , Manila Water , Metro , News , pipe-laying project

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