MANILA, Philippines - Malacanang has approved the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 project, which will connect the Southern and Northern Luzon Expressways.
The P26.5 billion project will be funded by the Citra Central Expressway Corp. of conglomerate San Miguel Corp.
"Our President is committed to build infrastructure that will ease the worsening traffic congestion and to enhance economic opportunities. This Skyway project will surely do both," Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said.
The new Skyway is expected to reduce travel time from Buendia to Balintawak to 15 minutes from the current two hours.
Abaya said the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) will be overseeing the project, which will start by the second quarter of 2014.
The DOTC will be coordinating with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and local government units on how to minimize traffic during the construction period, which is seen to take three years.
"DOTC along with DPWH, MMDA and local governments of Makati, Manila and Quezon City will surely coordinate and do its best to minimize traffic inconvenience throughout the route of the project," he said.
The 14.2-kilometer road system is expected to decongest EDSA and other major roads such as Quezon Ave., Araneta Ave., Nagtahan, and Quirino.
The project is expected to open up to 6,000 direct jobs and additional 10,000 indirect jobs during construction.
Preparatory and advance works would start before the end of the year.
Abaya said the first section of the expressway from Buendia to Nagtahan could be opened to traffic by early 2016.