NORTH Luzon Expressway (NLEX) operator Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC) is set to spend about P10.5 billion for the construction of a 7.85-kilometer road extension from Mindanao Avenue up to Commonwealth Avenue, but project implementation is being delayed by road right of way (ROW) issues.
The road extension project is called the NLEX C-5 Link Project or Segment 8.2.
“Pinupush din namin yung project na [We are also pushing the project which is] what we call 8.2 Road from Mindanao Avenue to Commonwealth,” MNTC president Rodrigo Franco told reporters.
MNTC said it aims to pursue implementation of Segment 8.2 to fully realize the economic impact and traffic potential of NLEX Phase 2, the urban ring road of the NLEX concession.
Segment 8.2 forms part of the 1998 Supplemental Toll Operating Agreement for the Manila North Expressway.
The main bottleneck in the project implementation is the clearing of the road ROW, which is heavily populated with informal settlers. Delivery of the road ROW is the obligation of the government under the terms of the NLEX concession.
MNTC said it is ready to implement the C-5 Link project subject to full delivery of the road ROW. It said the original timetable for ROW delivery under the NLEX concession was December 31, 1999.
“Ang maganda sana sa construction is construct lang pag na-turnover na 100 percent right of way, but you know, mahirap na iyon. Kaya normally, when you construct kahit hindi pa fully acquired yung right of way, medyo nagtatagal ang construction period,” Franco said.
[Ideally in construction, you begin construction when right of way is turned over 100 percent but, you know, that is difficult. So normally, when you construct even if right of way is not yet fully acquired, it prolongs the construction period].
The C-5 link aims to decongest Metro Manila as it provides an alternative access to the mainline NLEX further east of Metro Manila, bypassing EDSA and the Balintawak toll plaza.
Creation of an inter-agency task force has been proposed to craft a housing and resettlement framework for those who will be affected by the Segment 8.2 project.
The task force will be composed of representatives from the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the LGUs concerned, Department of Public Works and Highways, National Housing Authority, and the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP).
The task force will draft, seek approval for, and implement the appropriate Executive Order for ROW acquisition, budget appropriation, and housing and resettlement needed for Project Segment 8.2 requirements.
It will also secure the commitment or approval from various affected stakeholders such as the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), the Quezon City government, NHA, DPWH, and other agencies.