SMC starts work on Skyway 3-NLEX road connector project

Robie de Guzman   •   January 29, 2021   •   1030

MANILA, Philippines – San Miguel Corporation (SMC) announced that it has begun work on a 1.2-kilometer road that will connect Skyway Stage 3 and the ongoing 8-km North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) connector project.

In a statement issued on Thursday, SMC President and chief operating officer Ramon Ang said the company is “working on what’s workable,” in order to mitigate delays in right-of-way (ROW) negotiations that has delayed the construction of the vital link.

“This connection is vital because it will link two major expressways, Skyway Stage 3 and the Metro Pacific Tollways’ connector road project – making accessibility, interoperability, and ease of travel even better for the public,” Ang said.

The expressway project runs from C3 road in Caloocan City to Santa Mesa in Manila.

The connection, part of the detailed engineering design of the Skyway 3 project, can be completed within 24 months or less soon as the ROW issues with the landowners are resolved, Ang said.

“We’re already mobilizing our contractors to start work in areas that are unobstructed, where we’re permitted to work. We’re also already committing the funds needed to buy the ROW properties, so hopefully, these issues will be resolved the soonest,” he added.

The project was scheduled for completion in December 2020 but pending negotiations delayed it.

Ang said the alignment for this connection to the NLEX connector project, which the Metro Pacific Tollways Group is building, was supposed to be built together with Section 2 of Skyway 3 in the Nagtahan to Sta. Mesa area.

“However, about two years since we first worked on workable areas for Skyway 3, the ROW issue in section 2 threatened to stall the project,” he said.

“That is why we proposed to realign Skyway 3 along the San Juan River, so that the project could be completed faster and provide a solution to traffic—not cause more of it,” he added.

According to Ang, the right-of-way acquisition was the single biggest constraint to the Skyway Stage 3 project. While advance work was started in 2014, actual work on the main sections 1-4 only started in 2015, because of ROW issues.

The SMC fully opened Skyway 3 to the public in early January.

Skyway 3 connects the South Luzon Expressway and NLEX and serves as an alternative to EDSA with its access points that traverse Makati, Manila, San Juan, and Quezon City.

SMC gets gov’t approval for Pasig River Expressway project

Robie de Guzman   •   September 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — San Miguel Corporation (SMC) has secured a greenlight from the Philippine government for its Pasig River Expressway (PAREX) project, more than a year since it was proposed.

SMC president Ramon Ang said the approval of the project was signified by the signing of the project’s Supplemental Toll Operations Agreement by Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, and Toll Regulatory Board Executive Director Alvin Carullo.

PAREX is a 19.37-km, six-lane elevated road that will run along the banks of the Pasig River — from Radial Road 10 in the City of Manila to C-6 road in Taguig City.

The project will have three major segments – Segment 1 is from R-10 to Plaza Azul, Manila; Segment 2 from Pandacan to C-5, and Segment 3 from C-5 to C6.

PAREX will also connect to, and utilize a 2.7-km. portion of the new Skyway Stage 3 from Nagtahan to Plaza Azul.

“This will be an inclusive, user-centered infrastructure that will integrate various modes of transportation beyond cars. It will have dedicated bike lanes, walkways, a bus rapid transit system, among others,” Ang said.

With the opening of the Skyway 3 earlier this year, Ang said the Skyway system now serves as the seamless link between north and south Metro Manila.

Once operational, PAREX will serve as the east-west connection, linking up with Skyway 3 and SEMME making virtually every major city in Metro Manila accessible via the expressway.

SMC will fully shoulder the P95-billion cost to build PAREX, with no taxpayer or government money used.

Ang also said that PAREX will finally complete the long-envisioned north-south-east-west expressway connectivity for the region.

He added that with SMC’s P2-B Pasig River rehabilitation initiative, it is looking to expand water transport through ferry boats that will link people to cities along the waterfronts of Metro Manila – including Laguna Lake, Pasig River, Manila Bay, Marikina River, among others.

The SMC is tapping architect, environmental planner, and green urbanism advocate Arch. Felino Palafox Jr. to help in building the PAREX project.

“Together with Palafox and Associates, we will build what will be the country’s first sustainable infrastructure, one that will not just be ‘green’, but will have multiple uses and direct environmental, social, and economic benefits to Filipinos,” Ang said.

“PAREX will also be for pedestrians and cyclists. It will not just be for motorized transportation and convenience, but also for maintaining our health and well-being. It will not just ‘beautify’ the surroundings — it will rehabilitate the Pasig River and inspire urban renewal in Metro Manila,” he added.

Ang expressed gratitude to the government for studying the project and “ultimately seeing how it can address traffic congestion and transportation inadequacies” throughout Metro Manila, as well as how it can greatly benefit the environment and improve life in the city.

Initial train sets installed on MRT-7 tracks

Marje Pelayo   •   September 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — San Miguel Corporation (SMC) had installed the initial two train sets for the Metro Rail Transit Line 7 (MRT-7) project in Quezon City over the weekend.

These are the first of the six train sets the SMC expects to arrive this year from South Korea’s Hyundai Rotem.

The train sets, consisting of three cars each, were shipped from Masan Port towards the end of August. They were dispatched to the MRT-7 tracks between University Avenue and Tandang Sora, after clearing customs at the Port of Manila.

“Our engineers and workers assigned to unload the trains have been at the site since early Saturday morning and will be there until the whole process is completed the following day. We have to be very thorough during the whole process to ensure that it is done efficiently and quickly while inspections are continuously being done,” said SMC president Ramon Ang in a statement.

“We are working round-the-clock to meet the first test run by next year. We know that our countrymen are eagerly awaiting the formal opening of the MRT-7 so that they can experience faster, more efficient, and comfortable travel. This is even more crucial during the pandemic when additional transportation options are required to bring people safely to work and back to their homes,” he added.

SMC is the concession-holder for the project and is fully-funding construction of the 22-kilometer mass transit system. It is currently at 55.3% completion.

The MRT-7 project links up with the MRT-3 and LRT-1 and extends from North Avenue in Quezon City to San Jose del Monte, Bulacan. It aims to reduce travel time from Quezon City to Bulacan to just 35 minutes.

First batch of MRT-7 trains to arrive next week — SMC

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The first batch of trains for the MRT-7 project is set to arrive in the country from South Korea next week, according to San Miguel Corporation (SMC).

The SMC said the trains, which consist of six cars or two trainsets, were procured from South Korea’s Hyundai ROTEM.

Each trainset is 65.45 meters long – or well over the entire length of an Olympic-size swimming pool, which is 50 meters.

SMC president Ramon S. Ang said the arrival is a welcome development. It also hold a lot of significance especially with the challenges faced during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“At a time when many are feeling uncertain about our country’s future because of the pandemic, this shows that the job of nation-building, continues; that the work of improving our infrastructure, boosting our economic growth prospects, and investing in our country’s brighter future, also doesn’t stop–especially for us in San Miguel,” he said.

More trains are set to arrive in the following months, up to next year, Ang said, until all 108 cars or 36 trainsets the company acquired, are delivered.

He also announced that despite continuing pandemic restrictions and pending right-of-way issues, the project itself is now at over 54% completion.

“There are many causes of delay, from necessary pandemic restrictions to ROW issues. But as with all SMC projects, we apply 110% effort to all the areas we can work on, so as to minimize delays,” Ang said.

The first test run of the project is set for December 2022. AAC

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