San Miguel Corp. said it started work on a 1.2-kilometer road that will connect the Skyway Stage 3 to the NLEX Connector Road Project of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp.
SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang said the company was “working on what’s workable” to mitigate the delays in right-of-way acquisition for the new road from the Nagtahan section of Skyway to Sta. Mesa, Manila where the NLEX Connector Road will terminate.
The connection, part of the detailed engineering design of the Skyway 3, can be completed within 24 months or less once the ROW issues with the landowners are resolved, Ang said.
“This connection is vital because it will link two major expressways, Skyway Stage 3 and the Metro Pacific Tollways’ connector road project–making accessibility, interoperability and ease of travel even better for the public,” Ang said.
He said the connection would be in operation by the time the NLEX Connector Road was completed.
MPTC’s P23.3-billion 8-kilometer Connector Road is expected to be completed before of the end of Duterte administration in 2022. The first section of the elevated expressway from Caloocan to España Boulevard in Manila will be operational by yearend.
Skyway Stage 3 stretches from Gil Puyat Ave. in Makati and traverses through San Juan, Manila and Quezon City all the way to the North Luzon Expressway.
“We’re already mobilizing our contractors to start work in areas that are unobstructed, where we’re permitted to work. We’re also already committing the funds needed to buy the ROW properties, so hopefully, these issues will be resolved the soonest,” Ang said.
Ang said the right-of-way acquisition was the single biggest constraint to the Skyway Stage 3 project. The company said that while advance work started in 2014, actual work on the main sections 1-4 only started in 2015 because of the ROW issues.
The company mitigated the delays by starting construction in “available” areas to improve the chances of completing the project sooner while addressing the worsening traffic in Metro Manila. It also forced San Miguel to realign Skyway Stage 3 along San Juan River.
The company said despite its efforts, a lot of ROW issues remained unsettled, prompting numerous realignments and redesigns. SMC paid for all the ROW properties and spent for the transfer of vital utilities and the reconstruction of three bridges to complete Skyway 3.
“The alignment for this connection to the NLEX connector project, which the Metro Pacific Tollways Group is building, was supposed to be built together with Section 2 of Skyway 3 in the Nagtahan to Sta. Mesa area. However, about two years since we first worked on workable areas for Skyway 3, the ROW issue in Section 2 threatened to stall the project. That is why we proposed to realign Skyway 3 along the San Juan River, so that the project could be completed faster and provide a solution to traffic—not cause more of it,”Ang said.
“To show our commitment to complete the connection, even if the main alignment was already moved to San Juan River, we signed a memorandum of agreement with the Toll Regulatory Board and Department of Public Works and Highways. We basically already committed the budget for the ROW acquisition—we will pay for it—and we will complete this section within 24 months,” he said.
Ang said the company already started work on available areas and employed a ‘just-in-time’ sequence, anticipating the timely delivery of the ROW.
“Originally, this was supposed to be delivered December 2020, but it’s now pushed back. But we want to assure the public and government that we will do everything to complete it in less than 24 months, once we get the ROW,” Ang said.