No ROW for LRT-1 extension yet

Elijah Felice Rosales - The Philippine Star
No ROW for LRT-1 extension yet
Early commuters board the newly deployed 4th generation train set of the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) at various stations in Manila before dawn on July 21, 2023.
STAR / Miguel De Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — The Light Rail Manila Corp. (LRMC) has yet to start work on the second and final segments of the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) Cavite Extension as it awaits the turnover of right of way (ROW) from the government.

LRMC president and CEO Juan Alfonso told reporters the railway operator is on track to complete the first section of the LRT-1 Cavite Extension toward the end of 2024.

However, Alfonso said it remains to be seen when LRMC can begin the construction of the next segments of the LRT-1 extension pending the delivery of ROW to be acquired by the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA).

“We are waiting to hear from the department because it (ROW) was supposed to be turned over to us in one go. Their agreement to us is when they turn it over, it is free and clear,” Alfonso said.

Despite this, Alfonso believes the LRMC can deliver the full extension of the railway by 2027. To do this, the LRMC committed to expedite the civil works for the final segments of the project once the ROW is turned over by the LRTA.

The first segment of the extension is made up of five stops starting with Redemptorist Station in Baclaran and ending with Dr. Santos Station in Sucat, Parañaque City.

LRMC plans to open the additional five stations to commuters by the fourth quarter of next year, after which it can shift its focus toward building the final segments in Las Piñas City and Cavite.

The second segment will add two stations to the LRT-1, namely, Las Piñas and Zapote Stations, while the final portion will extend the rail line up to Bacoor, Cavite.

In April, Alfonso said he understands how challenging it is for LRTA to acquire the ROW for the remainder of the project, with the relocation of utility posts requiring about P10 million. As such, he admitted it might be difficult to commit a schedule for completion.

The LRMC has spent an additional P4 billion in putting up the line extension of LRT-1 on delays in construction caused by the pandemic. Initially, the project was expected to cost P64.92 billion, but required extra capital due to work stoppages at the height of the lockdowns.

Once completed, the LRT-1 Cavite Extension will reduce the travel time between Pasay City and Cavite to 25 minutes.

The project is also seen to boost the daily ridership of LRT-1 to 800,000 a day, opening a viable transport for commuters headed to or coming from the south of Metro Manila.

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