THE P9.51-billion Light Rail Transit Line 2 East Extension (Masinag) project is expected to increase the line’s ridership by an additional 75,000 passengers daily as the use of the trains is maximized, an official said on Tuesday.
“If you extend [the LRT line]you can maximize the use of the trains,” Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) administrator Honorito Chaneco told reporters on Tuesday during the groundbreaking ceremony for the extension project.
According to the LRTA, construction of an elevated viaduct from the end-point of the existing LRT-2 at Santolan, Pasig City to the junction of Sumulong and Marcos highways in Antipolo City can help to fully utilize the LRT trains.
The project, which will add 4.2 kilometers to the line all the way to Masinag in Antipolo City, will be operational by the third quarter of 2017. It is expected to cater to an additional 75,000 daily passengers from Rizal Province during the first five years of operation, according to a study conducted by the Japan International Agency (JICA).
Included in the project is the design and construction of two additional stations in front of Robinsons Metro East in Cainta and at the Masinag Junction in Antipolo as well as the electro-mechanical installations for the entire extension.
Chaneco said the electromechanical system will account for around half of the P9.5 billion cost of the project. “If we can procure before the change in administration, we won’t have any problem. But we can still procure within the year,” he said.
He said construction of the viaduct and the stations will cost P2.27 billion, and completion of the viaduct is expected by September 2016.
Chaneco said the LRT Line 2 serves 240,000 passengers daily although its design capacity is for 470,000 passengers.
Aside from the construction of the eastward extension to Masinag, two other major contracts are up for bidding to further improve and modernize LRT-2 services.
Already in process is an operation and maintenance (O&M) contract which is intended to provide riders with customer-oriented services and well-maintained facilities.
Partner/contractors for funding and the civil work contractor, civil works consultant and electro-mechanical consultant are JICA, D.M. Consunji Inc., the FDSC-KRNA-Soosung Consortium and the CMX Consortium.
Luis Pastor, senior vice president and general manager of D.M. Consunji Inc., said his company will bid also for a west extension project if there should be one, as well as other projects of the LRT and the Philippine National Railways. “We will join, depending on the package. Anything that for us is competitive. There are portions there that can be cut into smaller portions, but we are competitive if the railway is long,” he said.