CONSTRUCTION of the long-awaited extension of the Lig ht Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) to Bacoor, Cavite finally got underway Thursday, six years after the project was approved by the National Economic Development Board.
“The Cavite Extension will serve an additional 300,000 commuters and will significantly reduce travel time from Bacoor, Cavite to Manila from about two hours to about 40 minutes,” Light Rail Manila Corporation (LRMC) President and Chief Executive Officer Rogelio Singson told members of the press at the groundbreaking ceremony.
The additional 11.5-kilometer railway will connect to the existing LRT-1 in Baclaran and extend to Bacoor, Cavite.
The expanded line is expected to be completed by 2021, and will accommodate an estimated 800,000 passengers daily.
Singson was unsure whether the line would be opened in stages as sections are completed, or all at once.
“We are assessing if we can open package one first once it is finished, or if we are going to open it as a whole,” Singson said.
The new stations south of Baclaran will be named Aseana, MIA, Asia World, Ninoy Aquino and Dr. Santos Station, Zapote Station, and Niog Station.
Singson admitted that existing stations would not be able to handle the projected increase of number of passengers, necessitating some upgrades.
“EDSA-Taft (the stations where the LRT-1 connects with the MRT-3 line) cannot handle that volume coming from Cavite,” Singson said.
Singson said LRMC will work with the government to make adjustments to the stations of EDSA, Gil Puyat, Monumento, and the upcoming Common Station.
Transportation secretary Arthur Tugade meanwhile said that he is proposing a 24-hour work schedule to finish the Cavite Extension as soon as possible.
“Let us make it faster without sacrificing the quality of construction and cost,” Tugade said.
“If you have an honest to goodness cooperation between the private sector and government, then things will move,” Tugade added.