• DOTC says LRT 1 still safe amid delays in its rail rehab

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    The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) on Tuesday assured that the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1 is still safe for the riding public amid delays in its scheduled rail rehabilitation.

    The DOTC said it will meet Tuesday with OMMC-KORAIL-Erin Marty-Jorgman joint venture, the winning contractor for the P269-million rail replacement project which the government awarded November last year, to make sure they fulfill their contractual obligations to the government.

    The DOTC said rehab works on LRT Line 1 were supposed to start in May 2013 but the winning contractor wrote the department a letter earlier this year “claiming it would not be able to meet the project schedule since it could not obtain sufficient financing from lenders.”

    “After an exchange of correspondences, the DOTC wrote the Joint Venture [winning contractor]on 9 July 2013 to clarify that there was no impediment on the part of government preventing the Joint Venture from complying with the contract. The letter also stressed that the Joint Venture’s failure to satisfy its obligations are grounds for liquidated damages and blacklisting, in accordance with the Uniform Guidelines for Blacklisting,” the DOTC said.

    Meanwhile, the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) guarantees the safety of the LRT-1 System despite the present condition of its tracks which has suffered from ageing and over use.

    According to LRTA Administrator Honorito Chaneco, the rails are not expected to reach the critical stage of deterioration until another three to four years.

    The LRTA is constantly and stringently monitoring and applying all means to prevent the tracks from further deterioration and is already implementing several measures for this purpose, such as reducing train speed and imposing a passenger limit per platform.

    The bidding out of the Project was deliberately done by the DOTC and the LRTA early enough in order to ensure that passenger safety would not be compromised. It will cover the replacement of about 23 kilometers of rail tracks and is expected to be completed within 20 months.

    It was awarded in November 2012, but was initially stalled due to certain procedural issues raised by the Commission on Audit (COA). The audit issues have since been resolved.

    LRT Line 1 is the first mass rail system in the country which started operation in 1984. It runs from Baclaran to Roosevelt avenue in Quezon City via Taft avenue, Rizal avenue, and EDSA with a ridership of more than 658,000 daily. PNA

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