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Road tunnel proposed to solve Edsa traffic

04:55 AM October 07, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — Instead of building a skyway over Edsa, why not a tunnel underneath that doubles as a drain?

A Metro Manila lawmaker has made yet another suggestion to solve the traffic crisis, proposing a dual-purpose channel beneath the capital’s busiest highway similar to Kuala Lumpur’s Stormwater Management And Road Tunnel, or Smart Tunnel.

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“A Malaysian-type Smart underneath Edsa is another option that might help solve the horrendous vehicular congestion on Edsa,” Pasig City Rep. Roman Romulo said in a statement on Sunday.

He urged the Department of Public Works and Highways to look into the feasibility of constructing under Edsa a dual-purpose channel patterned after Kuala Lumpur’s Smart.

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His proposal adds to a growing list of proposed solutions to Metro Manila’s traffic—one of the worst in the region — that include making Edsa a one-way beltway, banning private vehicles during rush hour, and introducing a coding system according to car brands.

2 options for gov’t

Romulo said it was no longer feasible to add more lanes to Edsa, which left the government with only two alternatives.

“Since we can no longer widen Edsa, the only options left are to put up an elevated road above and alongside the Metro Rail Transit 3, as proposed by SMC, and/or build a new motorway below Edsa,” he said.

Malaysia built its four-lane, double-decked Smart—a key national project—at a cost of $515 million, Romulo said.

“Smart is basically a 4-kilometer motorway and 9.7-kilometer flood control system in one,” he said.

According to the lawmaker, under normal conditions without any rainfall, the tunnel serves as a road for light motor vehicles.

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Tunnel modes

But during the wet season, the tunnel has two modes, depending on the volume of rain.

With light rainfall, floodwaters may be diverted into the lower bypass channel, while the upper section remains open as a motorway.

During heavy rains, the upper channel is temporarily closed to all motor vehicle traffic and automated water-tight gates are opened to divert floodwaters.

After the flooding, the tunnel is cleaned via pressure-washing, and the motorway is reopened to traffic usually within 48 hours of closure, Romulo said.

Edsa is a 24-kilometer circumferential road that connects Caloocan, Quezon City, San Juan, Mandaluyong, Makati and Pasay.

The elevated highway project, once approved by the government, could be finished in 24 to 30 months, according to SMC president Ramon Ang.

The company’s Edsa road plan can also host a bus rapid transit that can bring up to 1.5 million passengers a day. —DJ Yap

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TAGS: Edsa tunnel, Metro Manila traffic, Roman Romulo, smart tunnel
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