The so-called ‘Golden Age of Infrastructure’ of the Duterte administration is now at full throttle. Government officials involved in infrastructure, transportation and traffic management came in full force during the ground-breaking ceremony for the 34km South East Metro Manila Expressway (SEMME)—aka C6—in Bicutan, Taguig City today.
Phase 1/Section 1 of SEMME, which starts from the Skyway/FTI area up to Diego Silang, both in Taguig, is targeted for completion by 2020.
The expressway, a combination of elevated and at-grade construction with mostly six lanes, will be operated by the San Miguel Corporation (SMC)-led Citra Intercity Tollways Corporation (CITI), which bagged a 30-year concessionaire contract issued by the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB). The tollway operator of SEMME Phase 1 is the Metro O&M Corporation, also owned by SMC.
The entire SEMME Phase 1 project will cover C5/ Diego Silang to C6/Taguig (2.125km), C6/Taguig to Ortigas Avenue Extension (12km), Ortigas Avenue Extension to Marcos Highway (5km), Marcos Highway to Tumana Bridge (8.336km), and Tumana Bridge to Batasan Complex (2.514km).
“Next week, uumpisahan na ang clearing and mobilization. Inaayos at pinaplantsa ang traffic management plan. In March, we will start the actual operation, construction of Stage 1/Phase 1 of the project,” Department of Transportation (DOTr) secretary Arthur Tugade said in his speech.
When completed, travel time of motorists from Bicutan in Taguig to Batasan area in Quezon City will be reduced to only 35 minutes, according to Tugade.
Engineer Norberto Conti, SMC Infrastructure Technical head, said that based on studies, the future C6 Road can accommodate an average of 80,000 vehicles daily. But he believes this circumferential road project can take more considering the present situation.
Government authorities know it’s not going to be a walk in the park in terms of project implementation. Aside from the heavy traffic that is expected to be triggered by the construction work, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) secretary Mark Villar said they are also bracing for right of way issues on the designated project areas.
“It will involve thousands of people. But they will be relocated under our right of way law. The right of eminent domain ay puwede nating gamitin. Sanay naman tayo sa right of way acquisition. May proseso naman, meron namang manual, tuloy-tuloy naman po,” he emphasized.
Phase 1 will connect to the 24.28km East Metro Manila Expressway (Phase 2) which will run from the San Mateo-Montalban area in Rizal, up to Lower Bicutan in Taguig; and the 22km North East Metro Manila Expressway (NEMME) that will run from San Jose del Monte, Bulacan to Marilano, Bulacan, which connects to the Northern Luzon Expressway. Phase 2 and Phase 3 projects are still under evaluation and study, DPWH officials said.
Considering the past experience of the government on construction delays due to right of way issues, do you believe the DPWH can finish the SEMME Phase 1 project on schedule?