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EDSA Decongestion Master Plan: From North to South in 30 Minutes

Every city in Metro Manila will only be 20 to 30 minutes away from each other.
IMAGE Dim Valencia
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Filipinos have been debating about Metro Manila’s “true midpoint” for years, a favorite topic over family dinner, drinking sessions, and coffee dates.

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The north and south divide is real and can be a litmus test for friendship or romance. I remember one friend who’d complain about being in a long distance relationship because her boyfriend was living in Quezon City while she lived in Makati. She said it was faster to meet in Boracay than to traverse EDSA. 

90-year old EDSA

This is not surprising at all. Epifanio de Los Santos Avenue, more popularly known as EDSA, started construction in the 1930s. Initially, the project, which was named North-South Circumferential Road, only spanned from North Luzon Expressway to Magallanes Interchange. It was only 30 years later that EDSA was extended to Taft, Roxas Boulevard and Caloocan.

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EDSA — the 23.8 km circumferential highway — has since exceeded its capacity by about 39%. The project is being used by about 402,000 vehicles daily — 114,000 vehicles more than its maximum capacity of 288,000 vehicles a day. 

The problem of EDSA has become a source of economic frustration also. In 2012, the Philippines lost P2.4 billion a day due to Metro Manila traffic. Six years after, a study conducted by Japan International Cooperation Agency said the number had gone up to P3.5 billion due to traffic congestion in Metro Manila.

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The EDSA Decongestion Masterplan

From the onset of the Duterte administration, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar has been working with the President on a plan to decongest EDSA through our “Build, Build, Build” program.

The EDSA Decongestion Program is made up of 23 projects amounting to over P383 billion is meant to connect the northern and southern part of Metro Manila within a span of 30 minutes. 

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One of the projects under the masterplan is the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 Project — an 18.30 km elevated expressway spanning from Buendia in Makati City to the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) in Balintawak, Quezon City. 

Now that the project is completed, vehicles in EDSA, C5 and other main thoroughfares will be reduced by at least 55,000. Travel time from Makati to Quezon City will be cut from 2 hours to only 15 to 20 minutes. Moreover, the project will also shorten travel time from NLEX to SLEX from 2 1/2 hours to only 30 minutes. 

In a couple of weeks, residents of Quezon City will also be able to reach NAIA in just 20 minutes.  Valenzuela and Makati will only be 15 minutes away.

What is more interesting is that the Skyway Stage 3 alignment will eventually connect to the NLEX Harbor Link Project via the NLEX - SLEX Connector — an 8-km elevated expressway spanning from NLEX Harbor Link Segment 10 in C3 Road in Caloocan City to PUP Sta. Mesa in Manila. 

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This would extend the alignment southward connecting to both the NLEX Harbor Link — a 5.58 km, 6 lane elevated expressway spanning from MacArthur Highway and C3 Road and the Radial Road 10 ramp — a 2.6  km 4 lane elevated ramp spanning from C3 road to Radial Road 10. 

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This connection will effectively create a loop within Metro Manila where in every city is connected within a 20 to 30 minute timeframe. 

The EDSA Decongestion Masterplan also includes the BGC Ortigas Link Bridge, the Pantaleon Estrella Bridge, the Laguna Lake Expressway, the Mindanao Avenue Extension, among others.

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About The Author
Anna Mae Lamentillo
Anna Mae Lamentillo is the chairperson of the Build Build Build Committee of the Department of Public Works and Highways. She is also a student at the University of the Philippines College of Law
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