Villar defends Skyway Extension project
Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - October 24, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar has defended the ongoing construction of the Skyway Extension project of SMC Tollways amid the heavy traffic it has caused to northbound motorists along the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX).

“It is better that we do this now instead of waiting for the situation to worsen because there is buildup forming in that area. So if we will not do it now, maybe in a few years it would be very difficult to do that because it will be super traffic,” Villar said.

Heavy traffic along the northbound lane of SLEX started on the evening of Sept. 24 with the closure of its outermost lane after the Alabang viaduct. The closure was made in line with the P10-billion Skyway Extension project being undertaken to provide a solution to perennial traffic congestion on the SLEX.

SMC Tollways earlier assured motorists that they will get a reprieve from traffic in the south by November when heavy preliminary works are targeted for completion, just before much of the Christmas rush.

It said that by end of November, motorists would be able to use the third lane that is currently closed due to preliminary works for the project.

Villar, who is also part of Toll Regulatory Board (TRB), said calls for SLEX toll discount would be studied by the TRB. 

“Well maybe it would be taken up, but no decision yet. Maybe it would have to be studied first because this project is really a construction, which would really be of help, so we’ll see,” he said.

“At this point, we’re just trying to fast-track the construction. Afterall, the target is by Dec. 1. The situation should return to original. It’s a little more than one month away,” Villar said.

The ongoing works is part of Phase 1 of the Skyway extension masterplan which is designed to decongest traffic at SLEX and Skyway, which serve populous provinces south of Metro Manila such as Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, and beyond.

Under the plan, both the northbound and southbound lanes of the Skyway will be extended all the way to Susana Heights. As such, it will also allow for direct access to and from the Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway.

This will add an estimated 4,500 vehicles per hour capacity to the northbound expressway, and around 3,000 vehicles capacity per hour, southbound.

Phase 2 and 3 will involve expansion of the Bicutan, Sucat, and Alabang-Zapote Road access points, to decongest traffic in those areas.

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