THE North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) Project will begin construction by the first or second quarter of 2019, the Department of Transportation (DoTr) said on Wednesday.
The Malolos to Tutuban railway project, costing about $2.88 billion, will be funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) through official development assistance (ODA) loans.
“Right now, the JICA consultants are doing the detailed engineering design,” DoTr project development officer Mikaela Mendoza said during a press briefing in Bulacan.
The bidding for the project is set in 2018, according to Mendoza.
The NSCR is expected to reduce travel time to 35 minutes even during the rush hour from Malolos to Tutuban, according to the DoTr.
The project aims to link “Region 3 to NCR through an efficient mass transport” and help in the “much needed decongestion of Manila,” DoTr Undersecretary for Administration and Finance Garry de Guzman said during the briefing, referring to Central Luzon and the National Capital Region.
It is intended to give “reliable, punctual and consistent service to the Filipinos,” De Guzman said.
Meanwhile, the DOTr said that package 3 of the Plaridel Bypass Road project of the Department of Public Works and Highways, also funded through ODA, is set to be completed by June 27, 2017 while package 4 is set to be finished by July 11, 2018.
The bypass road is an arterial road of 24.61 km which will link the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) with the Philippine Japan Friendship Highway, also called the Maharlika Highway.
Package 1 and package 2 of this arterial road project were completed in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
According to the DPWH, the travel time savings of about 45 to 50 minutes will be achieved upon completion of Packages 3 and 4.
JICA aims to develop regional growth centers in Region 3 and Region 4A (Calabarzon, or the region comprising Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) and a planned urban expansion in Bulacan and Cavite and Laguna areas.
“Hopefully this roadmap can be realized in the next 15 years,” JICA in-house consultant Floro Adviento said.