DPWH plans to build underground expressway along Roxas Blvd.to decongest traffic in Metro Manila

July 9, 2009 8:40 am 

MANILA, July 9 — The Department of Public Works and Highways is proposing the construction of an underground expressway in Roxas Boulevard as it warns of worsening traffic congestion in the area where traffic flow has crawled to 10-kilometer per hour during peak hours.

As envisioned, the Metro Manila Tunnel Expressway (MMTEX) will save the scenic view of Roxas Boulevard and historical sites like the Rizal Park but at the same time speed up traffic flow from North and East side of Metro Manila.

"The President and Public Works Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. are very keen on this project as it would decongest traffic in greater Manila. This is the first time we'll have such kind of project in the country," said Undersecretary Romeo Momo, who is assigned to oversee DPWH operations in Metro Manila.

DPWH Assistant Secretary Maria Catalina Cabral, who is in charge of planning, said the traffic congestion in Metro Manila's 50-kilometer radius will worsen even more as the metropolis' population and car volume increases, overtaking the "road network capacity."

In a report she submitted to the National Economic and Development Authority, Cabral said that by 2015, population in the metropolis would have reached 25,720,000 and car ownership increasing to 2,340,00 vehicles.

"The transport situation in Greater Metro Manila will considerably worsen unless effective policy measures are instituted in an integrated manner," she said, adding people here are projected to make 43.7 million "motorized" trips daily by 2015.

In Roxas Boulevard — also known as Coastal Road and R-10 — traffic gridlock not only inconveniences motorists but slows down commerce as trucks are banned during the day, thus making the Manila port "unattractive as cargo transport center in the Southeast Asian region."

Thus, the MMTEX — which is composed of an arterial road and integrated expressway system — will provide a "more efficient cargo transportation" since trucks can traverse from the ports to other parts of Manila using the tunnel expressway without adding to the traffic congestion along Roxas Boulevard.

"The (underground) expressway will provide the major access to the North and South harbors, which are two of the most important ports serving domestic and international cargo transport," Cabral said.

As planned, the first phase of the project will have an eight-kilometer tunnel from MIA Road to P. Burgos St. along Roxas Boulevard, costing P9.9 billion. The second phase would have a 20-kilometer tunnel traversing from P. Burgos to North Luzon Expressway through the cities of Navotas, Malabon and Valenzuela.

"The projected expressway connects the northern and southern parts of Metro Manila and will permit higher travel speeds, thereby greatly improving traffic capacity and flow in the North Expressway to the port area and further south," Cabral said. (PNA) scs/LOR/PR/utb

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