In anticipation of the traffic buildup caused by successive events, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has suspended road repairs and re-blocking works this coming weekend.
MMDA Traffic Engineering Center (TEC) Director Noemie Recio said they will not be issuing permits to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and its contractors for any road repairs from February 14 to February 16.
“This is an anticipation of the traffic gridlock caused by Valentine’s Day,” Recio told the agency’s radio program.
Apart from Valentine’s Day, the MMDA is also expecting heavy traffic in the metropolis due to the “Worldwide Walk” of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) in Manila on February 15.
MMDA Assistant General Manager for operations Emerson Carlos said the INC event is expected to draw more than 1.5 million participants.
INC members will gather at several locations in Manila, including Del Pan, Quiapo underpass, Roxas Boulevard, and march to Quirino Grandstand in Manila.
“We are expecting traffic congestion so we will not allow road repairs along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (Edsa) to minimize inconveniencies they would cause to commuters and motorists,” said Carlos.
According to the INC, the national event would be conducted simultaneously in major cities of the Philippines and around the world aimed to raise money and extend help for the victims of the Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
Motorists and commuters earlier expressed disgust after experiencing heavy traffic on EDSA due to road repairs and reblocking weeks ago.
MMDA has also advised motorists to be alert as road works, such as sidewalk repairs, asphalt overlays, pothole patching, along Edsa will be conducted for the rest of the year.
Meanwhile, Recio said a traffic summit is set on February 13 to iron out a unified traffic management plan, as more than 13 road projects will be constructed simultaneously.
“In this summit, the integrated traffic management plan will be discussed because of the overlapping road projects,” Recio said.
She said aside from the MMDA, the DPWH, Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), local government units (LGUs) and stakeholders are involved in the project.
RITCHIE A. HORARIO