Luzon railway projects make significant progress

Richmond Mercurio - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Major railway projects in Luzon are poised to make significant progress this month, according to top officials of the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

The DOTr signed yesterday the P2.8 billion design and build contract of the Unified Grand Central Station (UGCS) Area A with at consortium led by Marikina City Rep. Bayani Fernando.

The UGCS, also known as the common station, is designed to inter-link the four-railway lines namely, LRT-1, MRT-3, MRT-7, and the Metro Manila Subway.

It has three components, including Area A which covers the platform and concourse for LRT-1 and MRT-3, which will be financed and built by the DOTr.

Areas B and C will be developed and funded by Ayala and San Miguel Corp., respectively.

BF Corp.-Foresight Development and Surveying Co. consortium was awarded as the contractor for Area A through a negotiated bidding, following two failed biddings.

The consortium is targeting to complete the project in 20 months.

Transportation Secretary Tugade said the UGCS is expected to be finished and operational by the fourth quarter of next year.

Tugade said the project is still within schedule, but it could have been completed at an earlier time if not for the previous bidding failures for Area A.

Meanwhile, Tugade announced yesterday that construction of the PNR Clark Phase I, which will connect Tutuban, Manila to Malolos, Bulacan would commence on Friday.

The Tutuban to Malolos portion is part of the 147-kilometer North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) project which will connect Central Luzon, Metro Manila and the Calabarzon region.

Transportation Undersecretary Timothy John Batan said Japans’ Sumitomo-Mitsui Construction Corp. has been tapped as contractor for the 38-km Tutuban-Malolos portion which will cover 10 stations.

PNR Clark Phase 2 of the NSCR will run from Malolos to Clark, Pampanga, while the PNR Calamba Project will run from Manila to Calamba, Laguna.

The DOTr said the project is expected to bring more jobs and business opportunities in Clark, Calamba, and destinations in between.

The agency said around 350,000 passengers per day will benefit once partial operations begin in 2022, and 550,000 passengers once fully operational by 2023.

Aside from the two railway projects, Tugade said the long-awaited grounbreaking of the Metro Manila subway, a project which is expected to address traffic congestion in the metro, is also happening this month.

The project’s groundbreaking was earlier eyed last December and was later on moved to January.

Tugade said the delays were mostly due to scheduling issues of the parties involved.

“Next Tuesday I will be going to Tokyo to inspect the boring machine and then I’ll fly to Osaka for a high level meeting between the Philippines and the Japanese government,” he said.

The Metro Manila subway is a 35-kilometer line that will run from Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City to NAIA in Pasay City.

Partial operations is eyed by 2022, which entails the opening of a training center, the depot, and three stations namely, Quirino Highway, Tandang Sora, and North Avenue.

With a total project cost of P356.96 billion, the subway is the biggest single project under the Build Build Build program of the Duterte administration. 



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