MANILA -- Vehicle volume on the Philippine capital's main highway could go down by 30 percent this year, with road projects under President Rodrigo Duterte's "Build, Build, Build" set to be completed, one of his economic managers said Wednesday.
Some 130,000 vehicles could be dissuaded from using EDSA this year, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar said. The government is seeking to restore the highway to its 288,000-vehicle capacity this year, from 400,000 currently.
“‘Pag pinagsama-sama lahat ng (if you combine all of the) decongestion projects, we can expect that the President would deliver on his commitment to decongest EDSA definitely,” Villar told reporters in Malacañang.
“I can say at this point that the decongestion of EDSA is inevitable,” he added.
With the EDSA decongestion program, Villar said President Duterte’s target of a 5-minute travel between Makati City and Cubao, Quezon City could be achieved within the year.
"Sa term ni Presidente ma-decongest natin ang EDSA at yung 5 minutes po from Cubao to Makati ay possible po,” Villar said.
(We can decongest EDSA under the term of President Duterte and the 5 minute travel from Cubao to Makati is possible)
Duterte last year said travel between Makati and Cubao, which currently takes at least an hour via EDSA, could be reduced to 5 minutes.
"You don't have to worry about traffic. Cubao and Makati is just about 5 minutes na lang," he said in June last year.
The completion of the NLEX Harbor Link R-10 Ramp and Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 in the first half of the year alone can already relieve EDSA of over 130,000 vehicles, Villar said.
The NLEX Harbor Link, expected to be finished by March, connects the Port Area in Manila to NLEX. It is expected to ease traffic in EDSA by 30,000 vehicles.
The Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 meanwhile is expected to be completed by either April or May this year, Villar said, and could relieve the main thoroughfare of at least 100,000 vehicles. The elevated expressway connects Buendia, Makati City to Balintawak, Quezon City.
All of the government’s projects are “on track” even as the public works department grappled with the delayed passage of the budget last year, and a ban on infrastructure projects due to the midterm elections, Villar said.
“May partnership naman kami sa private sector so tuloy-tuloy naman po ang delivery ng ating mga projects,” he said.
(We have a partnership with the private sector so the delivery of projects is continuous.)
For this year, Villar’s department got a P580.89 billion budget under the P4.31 trillion government spending plan to sustain the government’s infrastructure push.
The President last week warned his Cabinet officials to finish all of the projects they started until 2022, saying he does not want to leave any unfinished business when he steps down.