Tandang Sora flyover closure deferred to March 1

MANILA — The closure of the Tandang Sora flyover and intersection along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City for the construction of the Metro Rail Transit Line 7 (MRT-7) has been moved to March 1 from its original date of February 23.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and Department of Transportation (DOTr) have decided to grant the proposal of the Quezon City local government to defer the closure to give time for information dissemination among its residents.

“When I received the letter yesterday regarding the proposal of QC LGU to postpone the Tandang Sora Flyover closure, I immediately called up DOTr Railways Undersecretary TJ Batan. Our meeting went well and he told me that he will follow whatever the Quezon City government and MMDA think what is better to do. Their request for one-week extension has been granted. So that means by March 1 at 11 p.m., the Tandang Sora flyover will be closed,” MMDA general manager Jose Arturo Garcia said in a press briefing on Thursday.

The MMDA will remove obstructions, including illegally-parked vehicles and illegal vendors on Luzon Avenue, Visayas Avenue, Congressional Avenue and other identified alternate roads until February 24.

“I have instructed the Task Force Special Operations to clear all obstructions in the vicinity of Tandang Sora. Parking, terminals and vending will be prohibited to maximize the roads,” Garcia said.

Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte, meanwhile, thanked the MMDA for granting the request of the city government to defer the closure of the Tandang Sora flyover and intersection.

“This one-week reprieve will give us more time to engage with the people,” Belmonte said.

She asked affected barangay leaders to coordinate with the private contractor EEI Corporation and MMDA in conducting an information drive among their constituents as well as to identify alternate routes which motorists could use.

“The barangays will be meeting with stakeholders. We shall deploy additional traffic enforcers,” Belmonte said.

On the other hand, the DOTr said the postponement of the MRT-7 construction along Tandang Sora will provide time to create public awareness on the project.

“While we want the construction of the MRT-7 to proceed as fast as possible, the DOTr also understands that major adjustments have to be made by residents, commuters and motorists who will be affected by the said closure. We take this postponement as a period to strengthen public awareness and cooperation for the project, as this would give individuals and agencies ample time to prepare and manage the traffic situation in the area,” the DOTr said in a statement.

The MMDA is set to build an elevated U-turn slot within the next three months to ease traffic congestion in areas where the MRT-7 is being constructed.

“The proposed elevated U-turn is on its final stage of design and engineering. Hopefully by next week, we can identify where it will be installed. The San Miguel Corporation and EEI Corporation have agreed to do this elevated U-turn. This is what we see as a solution to free up the intersection in Tandang Sora,” Garcia said.

The closure of the flyover is estimated to affect more than 100,000 motorists traveling along Commonwealth Avenue and 2,000-3,000 motorists using the intersection daily.

The MRT-7 is envisioned to be a 22.8-km railway line that will consist of 14 stations, traversing North Avenue in Quezon City to the City of San Jose del Monte in Bulacan.Aerol John Pateña /PNA-northboundasia.com