MANILA — Motorists will be able to access a portion of the multi-billion Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 (SS3), with the scheduled opening of the Plaza Dilao ramp in Manila this month, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said on Friday.
On the sidelines of the inspection on the road project, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar said the construction of the 18.68-km. SS3 is in full blast after all right-of-way issues have been settled and only 25 out of 494 substructure works remain under construction.
“Around 5 percent remains. So in terms of completion, our target is by the end of the year, the Skyway will be substantially complete,” Villar said.
Once completed, the SS3 will connect the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) in Buendia, Makati City to the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) in Balintawak, Quezon City, reducing a two-hour drive to about 20 minutes.
With this, he reported that two sections of the project are now more than 80 percent completed.
“Section 1 from Buendia Ave. in Makati City to Quirino Ave. in Nagtahan, Manila is now 83 percent completed, while Section 3 from Ramon Magsaysay Ave. to Balintawak is 81 percent completed,” Villar added.
“We’re projecting (that) as much as 100,000 cars a day will use the skyway (instead of Edsa). So, it will be a big relief,” he said.
The Plaza Dilao exit of the SS3 will be toll-free until such time the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) decides on its toll, he said.
He said that other sections are also being fast-tracked to ensure the Skyway’s mainline from Buendia to Balintawak meets the target completion date by the first quarter of 2020.
The soon-to-open stretch of the SS3 will only be open to light vehicles, with no plans yet of opening the skyway to cargo trucks and other heavy vehicles.
The public works chief also said the project was seismic rated, built to resist earthquakes.
“Our projection was it could withstand (a quake of) up to (magnitude) 8,” Villar said.
The Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 project spans three cities, Makati, Manila, and Quezon City. It is an 18.68-km. elevated expressway stretched over Metro Manila from Buendia, Makati City to Balintawak, Quezon City.
Interchanges are also strategically located in E. Rodriguez Ave. (Quezon City), Quezon Ave. (Quezon City), Sgt. Rivera St. (Quezon City), and NLEX.
Eight ramps in crucial areas of Metro Manila will connect the project to the rest of the city. These ramps are distributed among the eight sections of the project: Buendia/Makati to Quirino to Nagtahan (3.76 km.); Nagtahan to Aurora Blvd./Ramon Magsaysay Ave. (6.19 km.); Nagtahan to Tomas Claudio (0.96 km.); Tomas Claudio to PUP Sta. Mesa (1.30 km.); Tomas Claudio to Ramon Magsaysay Ave. (3.93 km.); Ramon Magsaysay Ave. to Quezon Ave. (2.71 km.); Quezon Ave. to Balintawak (4.46 km.); and Balintawak to NLEX (1.56 km.).
Last year, the DPWH opened the three-lane, northbound direction of Skyway Stage 3 from Buendia Ave. up to near Java St. in Makati City.
It allows motorists to exit a kilometer further along South Super Highway instead of using Buendia as an off-ramp.
Villar said the project will help realize President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s challenge of a five-minute travel time from Makati to Cubao by December.
“This is from Makati to Quezon City area, which is around the area of Cubao. The first exit is Manila, the next exit is already Aurora. From Makati to Aurora is less than five minutes,” he said.
Villar said the SS3 will be a big part of the decongestion plans in Metro Manila but is only one of the “Build, Build, Build” projects in the capital.
“This is not the only project lined up for decongestion. There’s the NLEX-SLEX connector, the C6, the C5 Southlink, then there are the bridges across Pasig River. So we still have a lot of plans for easing traffic. The vision of the President decongesting Manila is at hand,” Villar said. Raymond Carl Dela Cruz with reports from Ferdinand Patinio/PNA – northboundasia.com