P24-B Metro Pacific road project gets gov't 'go-signal'

By Lenie Lectura, BusinessMirror

Posted at Sep 10 2012 07:25 AM | Updated as of Sep 10 2012 05:34 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Metro Pacific group has secured the go-ahead to proceed with its P23.6-billion North Luzon Expressway (NLEx)-South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) connector road project.

Metro Pacific Tollways Development Corp. (MPTDC), a wholly owned subsidiary of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC)—the tollways arm of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC)—expects the said project to be fully operational by 2016.

The company recently completed negotiations with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and received a “no-objection” response from the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) in relation to the use of the Philippine National Railway (PNR) alignment.

MPTDC’s proposal involves the construction of a 13.2-kilometer (km) overhead road that will traverse through PNR tracks, passing the busy streets of Manila.

The project cost of the road connector is P19 billion, plus a right-of-way cost of P4.6 billion.

MPTDC’s connector road will have four lanes and three exits in Quirino, España and 5th Avenue. From there, the road would connect to the “Harbor Link” road project, which is actually an extension of the NLEx. The Metro Pacific group holds the concession to the NLEx.

“We are elated by the positive feedback from the DPWH and the DOTC regarding our proposal to build the NLEx-SLEx road connector project. We are optimistic the approval of the DPWH and DOTC will soon pave the way for us to proceed in constructing this vital road connector project that is envisioned to ease the burden of millions of motorists in Metro Manila,” MPTDC president Ramon Fernandez said.

The DPWH has accepted the proposal although this will still be subjected to a Swiss challenge.

When asked about the negotiations for the common segment of the project, Fernandez said, “This is open for discussions with San Miguel Corp. (SMC)-Citra, which is the other project proponent. We will abide by what President Aquino has mandated on the matter.”

The proposal of SMC-backed Citra Metro Manila Tollways Corp. (CMMTC) involves the construction of the 14.2-km, six-lane elevated tollway.

In May 2011, CMMTC submitted its updated investment proposal for the Skyway stage 3 project to the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) and the DPWH. Skyway stage 3 is a component of the Metro Manila Skyway Project approved by the government in 1995.

CMMTC asserted its right to construct extension roads for the Metro Manila Skyway through a concession agreement it signed with the government. The first stage of the Skyway runs from Buendia to Bicutan and the second stage extends the elevated road all the way to Alabang, Muntinlupa.

CMMTC, which used to be a joint venture between the Philippine National Construction Corp. and Indonesia’s PT Citra Lamtoro Gung Persada, said the concession agreement included a third section of the Skyway, which is the connector road.

The said connector road will have exits in Quirino in Manila; and Plaza Dilao, Aurora Boulevard, E. Rodriguez Ave., Quezon Boulevard, Sgt. Rivera and Balintawak in Quezon City.

Fernandez added that the TRB, in a recent board meeting, is just waiting for an agreement between MPTDC and CMMTC on the common segment before allowing the Skyway to proceed.

The common segment is a three-km road that will start from Buendia in Makati City all the way to Plaza Dilao in Manila.

MPTDC anticipates that its proposal will be submitted to the National Economic Development Authority this month for review and approval. Afterwards it expects a Swiss challenge to follow.