The 1.2-kilometer (km) connecting road that will link the 18-km Skyway Stage 3 to the ongoing eight kilometer North Luzon Expressway Connector Road project is now underway, the San Miguel Corporation announced.
According to SMC, the interlinking efforts for the second elevated expressway, which will run from C3 road all the way to Santa Mesa in Manila, is now being done, despite the pending right-of-way acquisition (ROW) negotiations that has delayed the construction.
SMC President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon Ang claimed that they are now “working on what’s workable,” to reduce further delays while waiting for the resolution on the ROW acquisition, which he cited as the single biggest constraint for the project.
Ang said that the connection can be completed “within 24 months or less”, as soon as the ROW issues with the landowners are resolved.
“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.
“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,” he added.
Ang stated that the although advance work began in 2014, actual work on the main sections 1-4 only started in 2015, due to ROW issues.
SMC noted that to mitigate delays then, they have started construction in “available” areas. “However, even then, a lot of ROW issues remained unsettled, prompting numerous realignments and redesigns. SMC also paid for all the ROW properties and spent for the transfer of vital utilities as well as the reconstruction of three bridges, in order to complete Skyway 3,” SMC noted in its statement.
Further, Ang also said that the alignment to interlink it to the NLEX connector project, 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 explained.
“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 (MoA) with the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). 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 explained.
Ang said the even as the company negotiates for the settlement of ROW issues, it has already started work on available areas and has 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 ended.
Photos from San Miguel Corporation