Skyway Stage 3 began yesterday. It also ushered in the rehabilitation of EDSA, north and south, which is said to end by 2016. The 14.8-kilometer Skyway Stage 3 project aims to connect SLEX to NLEX from Buendia to Balintawak and aims to decongest EDSA, C-5 and other major thoroughfares in Metro Manila. It also aims to reduce travel time from Buendia to Balintawak from two hours to 20 minutes or less. Its estimated cost: P26.5 billion.
What alarms me is that there is not enough information being made to inform the public and map out alternative routes. I don’t see any communication plan in place considering that these projects have been in the pipeline for quite some time now. It’s as if the public is on its own when it comes to public safety. Public safety seems to be the least of government’s concern.
Take the case of the bus Arvin “Tado” Jimenez took. Fourteen people were killed after the passenger bus fell off a ravine in Bontoc, Mountain Province. Jimenez was one of 45 passengers on board the Florida bus with plate number TXT 872. Now LTFRB is saying it was a colorum bus that was in the accident exactly weeks after LTFRB went on a public campaign to get the public to call their hotlines and report violations of public utility vehicles.
A few weeks after the Florida bus, there was an Antonina bus, which collided with an Elavil provincial bus in Libmanan, Camarines Sur, were both drivers, a conductor and two passengers were killed. Interestingly, LFTRB called for a bus summit last Friday, with 200 operators in attendance. How about the public?
Days leading to the start of official ground work of Skyway 3, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) suggested that schools should probably start offering online classes due to the planned EDSA rehabilitation. What an interesting suggestion considering classes are near homestretch with the summer months just around the corner.
MMDA likewise suggested that motorists should start looking for their own detours. An FB friend even pointed out: “Signages and proper lighting/reflectorized excavations must be installed.” On the Skyway 3 project, he asked: “Why is it that the lights under the skyway ramp from SLEX to Resorts World is not switched ON at night? I would presume, the cost of lighting and electricity has been factored in on the cost of using the skyway. The motorists under the skyway are susceptible to accidents, not to mention pedestrians. It is too dark under there.” Another asked, “why not use the social media platforms to inform and show to the public the alternate routes, the real time delay, and the status of construction?”
The 23-kilometer long EDSA will undergo rehabilitation in 15 key areas costing the taxpayers a huge P3.7 billion. The planned rehabilitation of EDSA would be done in “three phases with the first phase involving the stretch from Roxas Boulevard in Pasay City to Julia Vargas Avenue in Mandaluyong City. The repair work was expected to take 23 months under the DPWH’s Urgent Infrastructure Development Project in time for the World Economic Forum in 2014 and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in 2015. It is also part of the department’s commitment to improve all auxiliary roads by 2014 and all secondary roads in 2016.”
With the Metro Manila Development Council approving the plan of DPWH, MMDA is now hard pressed to manage traffic around the 15 areas. Local government units should start tapping the barangays to ensure there is smooth flow of traffic in their respective jurisdiction. It just can’t be the sole responsibility of MMDA because on its own, MMDA can’t handle the responsibilities of manning traffic in 15 road projects. The local government affected should ensure that signs are up, lights are on and traffic enforcers are up and about.
Its going to be mayhem in the metropolis with 15 road projects all lined up for construction: NAIA Expressway Phase 2; Gil Puyat-Makati-Avenue-Paseo de Roxas underpass; Sta. Monica-Lawton Avenue bridge; CP Garcia Avenue-McKinley Hill ramp; Repair and asphalt overlay of Magallanes Interchange; EDSA-Taft Avenue flyover; MRT Line 3/ LRT Line 1 extension common station; LRT Line 2 East extension up to Masinag; LRT Line 1 Extension (Cavite); EDSA-Roosevelt Ave. interchange; Espana Avenue-Lacson Avenue interchange; Repair/rehabilitation and improvement of South Superhighway Makati; NLEX-SLEX connector road above the PNR alignment and EDSA-West Avenue-North Avenue interchange.
The rush on infrastructure development is bad because it appears that in the last two minutes, mayhem will break lose. Sad because infra development in itself is good but we have lost the fight in the region because of underinvestment in the sector. In 2012, only 11 percent of the total appropriated budget for infrastructure was spent.
“In the Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013 of the World Economic Forum, the Philippines is ranked 98th among 144 countries in terms of quality of overall infrastructure. Philippine infrastructure is worse than Cambodia’s.” The Philippines ranked 120th in port infrastructure (120th) and air transport infrastructure (112th), way below Cambodia’s 69th and 75th place finish in port and air transport, respectively.
Singapore led ASEAN economies by ranking second overall, followed by Malaysia (29th), Brunei Darussalam (43rd), Thailand (49th), Cambodia (72nd) and Indonesia (92nd). Vietnam (119th) placed behind the Philippines while Laos and Myanmar were not on the list.
If there were mayhem in the metropolis because of the rehabilitation, would we need to also rehabilitate EDSA@28?