Friday, 27 February 2009

NorthRail construction resumes in the Philippines

Elizabeth Sanchez-Lacson
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Construction work on the 82-kilometer North Luzon Railways Corp. (NorthRail) project, which aims to link Caloocan City to the Clark Special Economic Zone in Pampanga province, resumed in the first week of February, the company said.

In a statement, NorthRail said its chairman, Edgardo Pamintuan, had reported to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at a Cabinet meeting in Clark last Tuesday that “every aspect that would contribute to faster construction work will be explored and employed to cover for the delay of project, which now runs to five years.”

Sources said the first phase of NorthRail project, to connect Caloocan City to Malolos City in Bulacan province, spanning about 42 kilometers, was estimated to cost more than P1 billion.

The succeeding phases will connect the Malolos railway to Clark.

Pamintuan said the Malolos viaduct portion started taking shape following completion of 14 board piles, and faster buildup was expected as work accelerated.

He said problems about design and other engineering details, which contributed to the delay of the project, had been threshed out following “a harmonization workshop conducted among a group of Filipino engineers and their Chinese counterparts during a three-week session in Tanjin, China, last December.”

“One of the several measures adopted for faster project completion was the agreement with project contractor Sinomach (formerly known as China National Machinery and Equipment Corp.) to work together with more Filipino subcontractors,” Pamintuan said.

He said NorthRail’s engineering, executive, and administrative and support staff now reported to an office closer to the project site for better and faster coordination and improved work efficiency.

The five-year delay was also caused by right-of-way disputes and the sustained effort of some individuals to derail the project, he said. With editing by

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