DPWH defers EDSA’s major rehabilitation; reblocking to continueBy Jerry E. Esplanada
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines —The Department of Public Works and Highways has deferred the P3.74-billion rehabilitation of the 23-kilometer Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, or Edsa, originally scheduled to start this month and completed by February 2015, the DPWH Public Information Division (PID) said.
Instead of the massive repair work, the “weekend concrete reblockings on parts of Edsa will continue,” Elizabeth Pilorin, chief of the DPWH-PID, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Quoting DPWH-National Capital Region director Reynaldo Tagudando, she explained the piecemeal repairs were “part of the department’s routine maintenance of the highway,” the country’s busiest thoroughfare.
“DPWH-NCR does not know yet when the total rehabilitation of Edsa will start. The department has yet to decide,” Pilorin also said.
An official of the department’s Urban Roads Project Office, meanwhile, told this paper they were “looking at mid-2014 for actual rehabilitation work on Edsa to start.”
“At this point, however, there’s still no official time frame,” said the same source, who asked not to be named.
In a phone interview, the official said the project would “proceed only after the department and the Metro Manila Development Authority have solved traffic-related issues currently facing Edsa motorists,” stressing “our main concern is how to decongest Edsa.”
The URPO has received suggestions from various groups to “commence the rehab program on portions of Edsa from Monumento (in Caloocan City) to the Trinoma intersection (in Quezon City).”
“We agree there would be less traffic-related problems if we do that,” the official added.
Last weekend, the DPWH-NCR conducted road repairs on at least seven sections of Edsa: Seminary Road, Roosevelt Avenue, West Avenue and Araneta Avenue, all in Quezon City; first and second lanes northbound, as well as the fifth lane southbound of the Monumento Circle in Caloocan City.
Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson had said that Edsa would soon be as “smooth” as the North and South Luzon Expressways.
“We only have 2013 and 2014 to complete the improvements on Edsa,” he said, noting that the former Highway 54, which was completed in 1954, had been practically neglected by previous administrations.”
The DPWH head pointed out “only piecemeal repairs were done there.”
According to Singson, Edsa is “proof that our road standards have really gone down. We have settled for roads full of potholes.”
The road repairs, where each road blocking would not be more than 150 meters, will only be done on weekends. Bridges and flyovers on Edsa are also covered by the rehabilitation plan.
Singson said there would be inconvenience all around, but Edsa would become a world-class highway after rehabilitation.
A new Edsa will also mean better travel on the road and less carbon emissions, according to Singson.
Also, outside Edsa, he said the department would “restore Taft Avenue as a major thoroughfare after it had been taken over by vendors.”
The sidewalks there have been crammed with “illegal structures” that commuters have been seen waiting for their ride in the middle of the street, he observed.
Singson has vowed to “pursue the full pavement of primary and secondary roads and bridges nationwide by 2014 and 2016, respectively.”
The target covers 15,872 kilometers of national arterial roads, 15,370 km of national secondary roads and 7,958 bridges with a total length of 345,978 lineal meters.
This year, the DPWH has allocated nearly P23 billion to preserve the country’s road network and another P7.9 billion to upgrade bridges.