MMDA: Heavier traffic in metro until early 2016

Mike Frialde (The Philippine Star) - January 22, 2014 - 4:46pm

MANILA, Philippines - The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Wednesday advised motorists to brace for heavy traffic starting this month until the first quarter of 2016 as at least nine major infrastructure projects get underway.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino met the proponents of the projects during the regular meeting of the Metro Manila Council (MMC) held at the Makati City Hall.

The MMC is composed of all the mayors of Metro Manila.

Tolentino said that in a bid to find the needed solutions, the MMDA would convene a Traffic Management Summit early next month. Expected to attend the summit are the proponents of the various infrasructure projects as well as the exectives of the affected local government units.

"Yung lahat nung proponents nito, mag meet first week ng February para sa 9 hanggang 13 na halos sabay sabay. Kasama dito yung alternate routes, yung rerouting at yung pwepwedeng maging daanan na hindi naman makakaapekto sa ating mga motorista," Tolentino said.

Among the projects expected to severely affect the flow of vehicular traffic in Metro Manila are the Skyway 3 project which broke ground on Wednesday, the Gil Puyat-Pasay Road Underpass in Makati, the line extensions of the LRT 1 and LRT 2, the NAIA Elevated Expressway, the EDSA-Taft Flyover, the McKinley Ramp at the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) and the Lawton Bridge that would be connecting Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong with the BGC across the Pasig River.

"Siyam hanggang labintatlong projects ang halos magsasabay sabay. So, ang mangyayari nito, first week ng February, magkakaroon ng Traffic Management Summit lahat ng proponents. Kasi ang sinasabi ko, sa pagbalangkas ng traffic management plan, hindi lang yng lugta kung saan sila gumagawa dapat ayusin," said Tolentino.

"Interconnected tong Line 1 and Line 2 extensions ng LRT sa gagawing Skyway 3 so, lahat yan ay koenktado. So yung traffic management plan, the whole Metro Manila na ang gagawin," Tolentino added.

Tolentino told reporters that there will be overlapping in the construction schedules of the various projects.

He said the NAIA Elevated Expressway project which has already been approved to start construction, would begin this quarter with the EDSA-Taft Flyover project starting at this year's last quarter.

This month, Tolentino said the repair of the Magallanes Interchange would be starting and is expected to affect the traffic flow along EDSA.

Tolentino said the traffic flow along EDSA would further be slowed down by the construction of the Skyway 3 project which will link Buendia in Makati to Balintawak in Quezon City through parts of Manila and Quezon City.

"Yung Magallanes Interchange repair ay apektado ang EDSA. Yng pag construct ng Skyway ay tutukod yan sa Buendia at sa EDSA," he said.

As a possible stop-gap measure, the MMDA would be reopening new alternate routes in the Metro similar to the "Christmas Lanes" used during the Christmas season.

"Maliwanag na mag present tayo ng isang plano para hindi gasnong mahirapan ang ating mga motorista pero may epekto just the same. Bubuhayin nating muli ang mga dating Christmas Lanes," he said.

Tolentino added that the MMDA would also be requiring the proponents of the projects to field more flagmen to help guide motorists especially at night when there are few MMDA traffic enforcers on the roads.

"We will also require the proponents na magkaroon ng additional flagmen. Sila ang mag duty sa gabi tutal project nila yun. Sila ang mag-aasist sa mga motorista. It would take time na maabsorb ng mga motorista, gaya nitong Skyway 3. ay 36 months," he said.

Tolentino asks motorists to bear with the expected heavy traffic flow until these are completed by the first quarter of 2016.

"Ang kapalit naman nito ay sa first quarter ng 2016, marami nang tapos. Yung McKinley Ramp, six months lang gagawin. Yung Lawton Bridge ay mahigit isang taon. Pag natapos naman lahat yan ay medyo maginhawa naman," he said.

"Kailangan ay pasensya. No pain, no gain. By the time pumasok na ang first quarter ng 2016 ay makikita na natin lahat ito," he added.

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