MANILA - The common station that will link four railway lines in Metro Manila will be finished by 2022, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said as it inked the building contract for part of the facility on Wednesday.
Dubbed as the Unified Grand Central Station (UGCS), the facility being built at the junction of EDSA and North Avenue in Quezon City will link the LRT-1, MRT-3, the MRT-7 and the Metro Manila Subway.
DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Timothy Batan said the UGCS' capacity has been raised to 1.2 million passengers a day from the initial 500,000.
The common concourse of the station also went up to 13,700 square meters from an earlier 7000 square meters (sqm) because of the addition of facilities for the subway.
Batan explained that the facility has been divided into 3 sections dubbed as Areas A, B and C.
Area A, which the government awarded to BF Corporation, will feature the concourse and platforms for LRT-1 and MRT-3.
San Miguel Corp will build Area C beside the SM North Edsa mall. This section will serve as a platform for the MRT-7.
Ayala Corp will build Area B beside Trinoma Mall. This will connect Area A with Area C.
The DOTr said Area A is set to be completed by 2020, while the entire Common Station is expected to be operational by 2022.
The government decided to split the UGCS into three following years of delays due to legal disputes over where the common station was supposed to be built.
BF Corp said managing the flow of traffic in the area will be a challenge while construction is ongoing.
"The mobility will be, of course, limited because of the location of the project," said BF Corp general manager Lucenda Vergara.
Construction is expected to start in 3 months and will last for 20 months.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, however, said that while construction of the UGCS is already underway, the construction of MRT-7 is still facing problems.
"Yung problema ko na lang diyan so far, yung depot," Tugade said.
(My problem there is the depot.)
He said that the 33-hectare land in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan on which the depot will be built is still mired in a court case.
Last year, the DOTr announced that the MRT-7, which is supposed to be finished by August 2019, may be delayed by a year.
This was after a Malolos court ruled in favor of a landowner who sought a higher zonal value of the property at P1,800 per sqm from an original valuation of P200 per sqm.
Tugade also announced that several big-ticket infrastructure projects will break ground this year.
Among these are the North-South Commuter Railway connecting Central Luzon, Metro Manila and Calabarzon; and the Metro Manila Subway whose groundbreaking has also been delayed several times.