Motorists experience Edsa gridlock ahead of Asean Summit
World leaders attending the 31st Association of Southeast Nations (Asean) Summit have yet to arrive in Manila on Saturday and yet traffic along the major stretch of Edsa has already hit a gridlock as transport authorities prepared the exclusive lane for the delegates.
As of 1:45 p.m. on Saturday, traffic along the entire northbound lane of Edsa, from Mall of Asia to Balintawak, was at a near-standstill. At the southbound lane, traffic was slow moving from Balintawak up to Muñoz in Quezon City.
The gridlock was due to the closing off of the highway’s two innermost lanes in both directions that were designated as Asean exclusive lanes.
Also, there is no number coding scheme on weekends, but it will be in effect for the duration of the summit, from Monday to Wednesday.
Transport authorities prevented motorists from using the exclusive lanes at around noon, in preparation for the arrival of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi.
The two Asean leaders, however, aren’t expected to motor to Manila and may spend the night at the Clark Freeport in Pampanga province.
Nonetheless, the exclusive lanes were still enforced for the advanced parties of the delegations.
Bong Nebrija, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority’s (MMDA) operations supervisor, said that because of the difficulty of funneling out cars that are in the exclusive lanes, they would no longer allow motorists from using the lanes for the entire duration of the summit.
He noted though that there would be no changes in the “stop-and-go” traffic scheme that will be implemented whenever a convoy of a head of state passes by Edsa.
Nebrija lamented that despite their “relentless public information campaign” over the last few weeks, motorists still failed to heed their appeal not to use Edsa, especially this weekend when the summit delegates and world leaders would start arriving.
He noted that most of the traffic choke points were near the flyovers and underpasses since cars were funneling into just two to three lanes of road along Edsa.
“We’ve been appealing for the past weeks to please take alternate routes and as much as possible avoid Edsa, both directions. There is heavy traffic in Edsa. Help us decongest it by using the Scout Area in the west corridor and C5 in the east corridor,” Nebrija said.
Emmanuel Miro, the Asean traffic management commander, added that motorists could also use the 17 Mabuhay Lanes throughout the metro.
The Mabuhay Lanes is a network of alternate routes which the public can use to avoid Edsa, especially during these months when the number of cars on the road increase by 20 percent. /jpv
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