SMC offers to build 10-lane ‘elevated Edsa’ to fix traffic mess
MANILA, Philippines — San Miguel Corp. (SMC) has a new proposal to solve the horrendous vehicular congestion on Edsa, Metro Manila’s busiest road.
SMC president Ramon Ang said on Wednesday that the food, drinks and infrastructure conglomerate planned to build a 10-lane elevated expressway made of steel that would run the length of Edsa.
Edsa is a 24-kilometer circumferential road that connects Caloocan, Quezon City, San Juan, Mandaluyong, Makati and Pasay. It also links Metro Manila’s business districts—the Ortigas Center, Makati and Bonifacio Global City.
The high volume of vehicles and inefficient mass transit systems also make Edsa the site of frequent multihour traffic jams.
Last month, President Duterte said letting Edsa “rot” was fine with him after failing to get special powers from Congress to solve urban congestion.
Ang said the plan to build the elevated road on Edsa would proceed with the P745-billion international airport in Bulacan province, another SMC project that will also help ease Manila’s traffic problem.
“We talked with Secretary (Arthur) Tugade to build an elevated Edsa,” Ang said, referring to Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade.
Up to 30 months, BRT
Ang said the elevated road could be extended all the way to the Cavite Expressway in southern Metro Manila.
He added that the project, once approved by the government, could be finished in 24 to 30 months.
SMC’s Edsa road can also host a dedicated bus system, also known as a bus rapid transit (BRT), that can carry up to 1.5 million passengers a day.
Ang declined to give other details, such as how vehicles will access the elevated road given dense commercial developments along Edsa.
But he said the proposal would be submitted soon, possibly as early as next week.
The project will be reviewed once the proposal is submitted, according to Tugade.
He said the government also wanted an option to acquire the project at any point in the future.
“We said, as a show of sincerity, that government can buy the project at any time after construction at cost,” Tugade said.
Huge congestion cost
Government agencies, including the Department of Transportation and Department of Public Works and Highways, are working to solve Metro Manila’s traffic woes, which cost an estimated P3.5 billion a day, according to a study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
Part of the solution is the construction of new infrastructure projects.
Among these is SMC’s Skyway Stage 3, an elevated toll road that will link the northern and southern parts of Metro Manila by early 2020.
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) earlier estimated the daily volume of cars on Edsa at 385,000, much higher than the highway’s capacity of 240,000 a day.
The traffic problem has worsened that banning private vehicles on Edsa during rush hour or making it a one-way road has been proposed.
The MMDA’s plan to ban provincial buses from Edsa to ease congestion has been thwarted by a court order.
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