Completion of major projects to be delayed

Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - March 25, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Completion of major road projects which are expected to alleviate the worsening traffic conditions in Metro Manila will be pushed back due to the enhanced community quarantine being implemented in Luzon.

The infrastructure arm of conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC) said work is suspended for all its infrastructure projects, including two major ones which are scheduled for completion this year.

These are the the Skyway Extension and the Skyway Stage 3 projects.

“Construction is not included in the enhanced community quarantine exemptions, so our contractor’s workers are unable to work,” SMC Infrastructure said.

“While this means the timelines are moved, at this point, the safety of workers and our cooperation with government directives on the enhanced community quarantine take precedence over the projects,” it said.

Set for completion originally by December 2020, the Skyway Extension project will add two lanes going north for a total of five northbound lanes, and three lanes going south for a total of four southbound lanes.

It will provide motorists a direct connection to Skyway 1 and 2 and Skyway 3, which is also under construction.

The Skyway Stage 3 project, which would reduce travel time to and from Buendia and Balintawak to only 15 minutes, was originally targeted to open by April.

Prior to the announcement of the community quarantine, the project was targeted to open by July.

“All timetables now will be offset with this quarantine,”  SMC Tollways president Manny Bonoan told The STAR.

Bonoan, however, said it is hard to assume at the moment if the ongoing month-long quarantine would only result in a corresponding one month delay in the completion of these projects.  

“I don’t know if it is one month only because workers will need momentum. I’m sure SMC will make an announcement of new the timetables,” he said.

This month’s supposed completion and opening of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC)’s NLEX Harbor Link Segment, an elevated expressway which will reduce travel time between NLEX and R10 in Navotas City from 60 minutes to 10 minutes, will not happen given the temporarily suspension of construction works for the project.

“We will move the opening of the project. The Harbor Link works are currently suspended due to the enhanced community quarantine,” MPTC president and chief executive officer Rodrigo Franco told The STAR.

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