Tugade says no more change in alignment for subway project
Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - October 21, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is bent on proceeding with the construction of the country’s first underground railway with the current alignment intact amid a call from the Senate Committee on Public Services to put on hold the subway project.

“The alignment will not be moved anymore because that is approved already per studies,” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said.

Tugade said it is important that construction of the subway be started immediately as it is one of the key projects to ease Metro Manila’s traffic congestion.

He said discussions about changing the project’s alignment could only lead to its delay.

“It is not possible to have a lot of talks and discussion about changing the alignment. What is important now at this time is that the project gets started,” Tugade said.

“At a certain point if there is a solution that needs to be done, we will look at those in the future” he said.

The Senate Committee on Public Services earlier this month started looking into the realignment of stations in the proposed subway project, which reportedly crosses a major earthquake fault.

Reports said the Metro Manila subway as proposed by the DOTr apparently deviated from the original proposal by a joint NEDA-JICA team that ensured that it would not pass through hazards or danger zones.

Committee chairperson Sen. Grace Poe had indicated that the committee would ask the DOTr to put on hold the subway project that originally cost around P220 billion and has ballooned to P356 billion because of the changes made to the stations’ locations.

Tugade earlier said construction works for the project is targeted to start by the latter part of the year, with its partial operability consisting of the first three underground stations to be completed by the first quarter of 2022.

The DOTr in February broke ground for the project and likewise signed the design and build contract for its first three stations, or its partial operability section, with the joint venture of Shimizu Corp., Fujita Corp., Takenaka Civil Engineering Co. Ltd., and EEI Corp.

The joint venture will be in charge of design and construction of the subway’s partial operability section, which consists of the first three underground stations (Quirino Highway, Tandang Sora, and North Avenue), tunnel structures, the Valenzuela depot, and the building and facilities for the Philippine Railway Institute.

The P357-billion Metro Manila subway will span 36 kilometers with 15 stations, crossing seven local governments, and passing three of Metro Manila’s business districts, according to the DOTr.

The 15 stations will run from Quirino Highway to NAIA Terminal 3 in Pasay City and FTI in Taguig

Full operation is eyed by 2025.

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