ICYMI: Major infra updates, number coding suspension for Holy Week

What a busy week
by TopGear.com.ph | Apr 9, 2022
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PHOTO: DOTr, DPWH, Shutterstock, Araneta City Bus Station

DOTr shares vision of Unified Grand Central Station up north

“Every Metro Manila commuter has experienced having to jump from one train line to another. It’s doable, but frankly, it’s a hassle—especially considering the long walk the chore entails. This could change, though, if the Department of Transportation (DOTr) is able to follow through on plans to build a Unified Grand Central Station up north.

“Frankly, this vision is still a while away considering one of the lines the agency hopes to incorporate into the project is the Metro Manila Subway (which has yet to begin testing of its tunnel boring machines). It doesn’t make the plan any less promising, though.

“Other train lines the Unified Grand Central Station will potentially connect are the MRT-3, MRT-7, and LRT-1. The DOTr recently provided its Facebook followers with a conceptual look at how the project will turn out.

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“The DOTr added that once this common station is completed, it will serve as many as 500,000 Metro Manila commuters per day.”

DPWH has unveiled the completed Binondo-Intramuros Bridge

“We’ve already lost count of how many times the completion date of the Binondo-Intramuros Bridge was moved over the past year or so. None of this matters now, though, because the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has officially inaugurated the infrastructure project.

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“The newly completed Binondo-Intramuros Bridge is one of the two China-funded bridges under the government’s Build, Build, Build program. The P3.39-billion structure connects Solana Street and Riverside Drive in Intramuros to Rentas Street and Muelle Dela Industria in Binondo. A third exit ramp at Plaza Del Conde Street in Binondo is also set to open this month.

“The basket-handle tied steel arch bridge measures 680m long, spans 21m wide, and has four lanes in total. It is also built with bike lanes with thermoplastic road lines as well as protected sidewalks on both sides.

“The newly inaugurated bridge connects the busy districts of Binondo and Intramuros and is expected to serve around 30,000 motorists daily. You can watch the inauguration ceremony below:”

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Araneta City Bus Station reopens Laguna and Batangas routes

“An important announcement for commuters to start the week: Bus trips to Laguna and Batangas via the Araneta City Bus Station are once again available.

“The buses resumed operations on April 2, 2022. Trips headed to Calamba, Los Baños, and Sta. Cruz in Laguna and to Batangas City, San Juan, and Lipa in Batangas are available. All bus units are equipped with QR code scanners for contact tracing of passengers, and each one is sanitized and disinfected in between trips.

“The management has also announced that buses bound for Pampanga and Bulacan are likewise now operational. For the full Batangas and Laguna trip schedules, read on below.”

Araneta City Bus Station routes

  • Batangas trips via Alps and GoldStar Transport
    • Schedule: 5:30am to 8:30pm
    • Fares
      • San Juan, Batangas – P310
      • Batangas City – P230
      • Lipa City, Batangas – P176
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  • Laguna trips via HM Transport
    • Schedule: 7am to 5pm
    • Fares
      • Calamba, Laguna – P117
      • Pansol, Laguna – P128
      • Los Baños (Bayan), Laguna – P139
      • Sta. Cruz, Laguna  – P198

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MMDA announces number coding suspension for Holy Week 2022

“The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is shaking up its operations now that Holy Week is right around the corner. The agency has begun its Oplan Metro Alalay Semana Santa (M.A.S.S.) 2022.

“From April 8-18, the MMDA will deploy 2,681 personnel in key areas in the metro to ensure the smooth flow of traffic as well as the safety of motorists throughout Holy Week. The agency has also announced the suspension of the number coding scheme on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, April 14 to 15, 2022. In addition, the MMDA Roadside Emergency Group will be on standby to provide emergency assistance to the public.

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“The MMDA said in its advisory that its operations will focus on Metro Manila’s entry and exit points such as the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), and the MacArthur Highway. Traffic enforcers will be assigned to man busy churches like Redemptorist Church in Parañaque, Sto. Domingo Church in Quezon City, San Agustin Church in Intramuros, and Quiapo Church in Manila City.”

Quiapo Church to hold procession for Black Nazarene on April 15

Quiapo Church said Monday that it was planning to hold a motorcade procession for the Black Nazarene on Good Friday, April 15—a hint of normalcy in Holy Week traditions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Church administrators are reviving Holy Week traditions, including the pahalik for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic started. The government recently extended Alert Level 1 in Metro Manila.

“Devotees are called on to wear their uniforms and bring a candle for the motorcade procession, said Douglas Badong, parochial vicar of Quiapo Church.

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“‘Di kinakailangan magpaa, magdala lang ng kandila. Tahimik po tayong magprusisyon so sana po ay unawain ng mga deboto ito,’ Badong told TeleRadyo.

“‘Hindi pa natin puwedeng gawin at ibalik ang dati nating tradisyon tulad ng pasanan at paghihila ng lubid, ganon din ang salyahan at mga balyahang nangyayari, para lang po makahawak sa Nazareno,’ the Quiapo Church said in a separate Facebook post.

The church will also bless Black Nazarene replicas in a procession on April 6 and 7.

“‘Inaanyayahan din namin kayong lahat na may mga imahen, na dalhin po dito sa Simbahan ng Quiapo para sa replica Lenten procession nang sa gayon ay hindi niyo na po ito dadalhin sa mismong paglabas ng Señor Nazareno sa Biyernes Santo,’ it said on Facebook.

“Badong reminded devotees that they cannot kiss the image during the pahalik. He also urged the Catholic faithful to maintain physical distance, wear their face masks, and sanitize after touching the image.”

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MPTC suspends road works, rolls out free towing services for Holy Week

Holy Week is right around the corner. With that, Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC) is once again launching its ‘Safe Trip Mo Sagot Ko’ (SMSK) motorist-assistance program.

“MPTC says traffic volume rises by 10-15% during Holy Week, which is why it is making the necessary preparations to ensure motorists of hassle-free travels along the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX), Manila-Cavite Expressway (Cavitex), C5 South Link, and Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX).

“For starters, the company will be suspending all lane closures and mainline road works along all of its tollways from April 8 to 18 unless safety repairs are necessary. For this period, updated traffic information will also be continuously posted on each of the expressways’ social media pages and the MPTC Hotline (1-35000) will be open 24/7.

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“In addition, MPTC will also be providing free towing services to the nearest exit for all Class 1 vehicles. This will be available from April 13, 6am to April 18, 6am.

“MPTC is also encouraging motorists to use the new MPT DriveHub app, which can be downloaded for free on both Android and iOS devices. This smartphone app has functions such as RFID balance inquiry and reloading, trip planning, a toll-fee calculator, and emergency roadside assistance.”

I-ACT enforcers are putting their breathalyzers to good use in the fight against drunk driving

“One of the most effective weapons against drunk driving is the breathalyzer. If you aren’t familiar with the device, it is a gadget that’s able to determine whether or not a motorist is intoxicated by reading his or her blood alcohol content through the person’s breath.

“We’ve written on numerous occasions about how authorities have equipped themselves with these devices to clamp down on drunk drivers in Metro Manila. Recently, the InterAgency Council for Traffic (I-ACT) shared that the agency is putting them to good use.

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“Over the past few days, I-ACT has shared drunk driving apprehension footage wherein enforcers used their breathalyzers to determine a driver’s blood alcohol content. It even posted one instance of a professional driver’s license holder with a 0.410% blood alcohol content who was involved in a minor accident while riding a motorbike. Look:

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“For everyone’s information, the I-ACT says a driver’s blood alcohol content should read as 0% if they are behind the wheel with a professional license. The rider is now in custody and facing charges of reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property and of violating the Anti-drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013.

“You can check out even more of the I-ACT’s breathalyzers in action in the posts below. Guys, don’t drink and drive. No one wins in situations like these—except maybe for the breathalyzer manufacturers.”

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PHOTO: DOTr, DPWH, Shutterstock, Araneta City Bus Station
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