PASAY CITY – The government plans to construct a six-lane skyway or an underground tunnel highway on EDSA (Epifanio De Los Santos Avenue) initially estimated to cost P50 billion to decongest Metro Manila of traffic jams.
Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson the proposed 22-kilometer elevated Edsa highway will stretch from Roxas Boulevard in Pasay City to Monumento in Caloocan City.
The plan was unveiled by Singson during a Senate committee on finance meeting this week.
”We are now finalizing guidelines to do a new EDSA,” Singson said duirng the hearing which deliberated the DPWH’s proposed P125-billion budget for 2012.
Singson said the department was looking at either constructing an “elevated” or a “tunnel” expressway along the congested EDSA, where railway tracks of Metro Rail Transit (MRT) exist from Taft Avennue in Pasay City to SM North in Quezon City and the north of the Light Rail Transit (LRT).
“EDSA to us is a struggle. We are doing a metro expressway for NCR [National Capital Region]. We are looking at building either elevated or SMART tunnel from Roxas Blvd. in Pasay City up to Balintawak in Quezon City,” said Singson.
Singson said the proposed 22-kilometer new EDSA would have six lanes, with initial funding of P50 billion to be funded either through Official Development Assistance (ODA) from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) or the Public and Private Partnership (PPP) program.
Singson said they were still evaluating whether to build an elevated expressway or a tunnel, but the “inclination” was to construct an elevated highway.
Another consideration is to build a SMART (Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel), which would specifically be used as a reservoir for floodwater, Singson said.
“If this is just a road tunnel that we are looking at, definitely the elevated expressway is going to be more efficient. But if we want to use the tunnel as a SMART to bring in all the excess water that comes into Metro Manila, then we are trying to assess whether it is more efficient to do a joint smart tunnel or just an elevated expressway,” said Singson.
Senator Franklin Drilon, chairman of the Senate committee on finance, said the ambitious project would be the “ultimate solution to the hell that we go through every time we passed by EDSA.”
”What is important this (new EDSA) will be started during the term of President Benigno Aquino III and the vision is to finish this in six years,” Drilon said.
Drilon said the new EDSA expressway project is needed if the Philippines want to catch up with its neighboring Southeast Asia in terms of infrastructures competitiveness.