24 August 2016

Gov't to pursue use of Subic, Batangas ports to decongest Manila roads

The Duterte administration will push for the use of the ports of Subic and Batangas to ease bottlenecks at Manila ports.

This scheme is one of five infrastructure projects expected to decongest Metro Manila road traffic. The other projects are: The North-South Railway Project (NSRP)-South Line; the Metro Manila Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)-EDSA project; Bonifacio Global City (BGC)-Ortigas link bridge; and, a common station for MRT 3, LRT 1, and MRT 7.

Container truck traffic at the port of Manila

The Infrastructure Committee has specified measures to urgently address Metro Manila’s traffic crisis and decongest the city, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said in a press conference in MalacaƱang on Tuesday.

The projects will be carried out in partnership with private sector.

Road traffic congestion in Metro Manila cost the country at least P3 billion a day, according to a study that Japan International Cooperation agency conducted in 2012.

Two of the projects—NSRP South Lane and BRT-EDSA—alone will cost P238.96 billion. Costing of others is yet to be finalized.

According to the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center website, the NSRP, which has an indicative cost of P170.7 billion, aims to revive the railway to provide improved transport and logistics services to currently underserved areas and encourage more productive activities.

The proposed NSRP South Line PPP covers Metro Manila to Legazpi City, Albay, plus a number of existing and proposed branch lines totaling 653 kilometers.

It consists of commuter railway operations between Tutuban and Calamba and long haul railway operations between Tutuban and Legazpi, including extended long haul rail operations on the branch line between Calamba and Batangas and extension between Legazpi and Matnog.

The railway between the existing Tutuban station and the city of Calamba, in the Laguna province is a 56km section of the NSRP and is proposed to have commuter rail operations in addition to long haul rail operations of NSRP.

This section represents an existing Philippines National Railway (PNR) right-of-way (ROW) which runs through
Metro Manila. Currently, the NSRP has a narrow gauge railway.

However, the PPP Center said extensive rehabilitation and reconstruction is needed to bridges and road crossings to bring it to safe operating condition.

Meanwhile, the Metro Manila BRT-EDSA, is a rapid transit infrastructure of 48.6km through EDSA, Ayala Avenue, Ortigas-BGC, and Ninoy Aquino International Airport with 63 stations. It will add accessibility infrastructure like greenways, pedestrian walkways, and bikeways. The total project cost is estimated at P68.26 billion, of which public sector component is P37.76 billion, with an implementation schedule of 2017 to 2019.

The bridge that will link Bonifacio Gobal City (BGC) in Taguig City and Ortigas Center in Pasig City will include vehicular underpasses below the Makati Business District.

“The immediate implementation of the Bonifacio Global City-Ortigas link bridge… is expected to divert 25 percent of the EDSA traffic,” said Pernia.

The link bridge will add up to C5, which is located on the east side of Metro Manila.

“So we need another one there to add road space for those traveling between the two parts of Metro Manila that is cut by the Pasig River,” he explained.

Another, Pernia said, is the early resolution of the Common Station for MRT 3, LRT 1, and MRT 7.

“The Department of Public Works and Highways will hand the final configuration of the station to the Department of Transportation,” he said. (Mayvelin U. Caraballo, Manila Times)