Thursday, 2 April 2009

President pushes Manila road projects

PGMA lowers time capsule for P2.1B NLEX-C5 road link

VALENZUELA CITY (PND) – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today lowered at Brgy. Ugong here the time capsule for the P2.1-billion NLEX-C5 North Link Project that would enable northbound motorists from the eastern part of Metro Manila to have seamless entry into the main North Luzon Expressway (NLEx).

Set to be completed by April 2010, the 2.7-kilometer Segment 8.1 is part of the ambitious P38-billion road network project of Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC), the mother company of the Manila North Tollways Corporation (MNTC) which will construct the road segment that will link NLEX to the Circumferential Road 5.

Welcoming the President to the capsule-laying ceremonies were top officials of MPTC led by Manuel Pangilinan; National Housing Authority (NHA) general manager Federico Laxa; Public Works Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane; Subic-Clark Alliance for Development (SCAD) chair Edgardo Pamintuan; Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) chair Narciso Abaya; and Presidential Management Staff (PMS) head Hermogenes Esperon, among others.

Also in the ceremonies for the link road that will traverse three cities in Metro Manila were Quezon City officials led by Mayor Feliciano Belmonte; Caloocan City officials led by Mayor Recom Echiverri; and Valenzuela City officials led by Mayor Sherwin Gatchalian.

With the above-named officials, the President laid the time capsule containing, among others, the plans for the road segment.

The President -- who also interviewed three people who have been benefiting from the upgraded NLEX and a worker hired for Segment 8 -- was then shown maps of the ambitious P38-billion road network that would connect the NLEX to the Southern Luzon Expressway (SLEX) within the next five years.

The MNTC said Segment 8.1 shall “bypass the high-density areas approaching the Balintawak toll plaza in Caloocan City. It starts at Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City and ends south of the Valenzuela Interchange, and is the first step toward completing the entire NLEX Phase 2 Project.

NLEX Phase 2 consists of four satellite road projects with an aggregate length of 22.486 kilometers. It is designed to provide easy, hassle-free and speedy access to the 84-km. main NLEX from all four directions – north, east, west and south of Metro Manila.

The highway expansion is in line with President Arroyo’s policy to link roadways and seaways to hasten travel and the delivery of goods and services towards economic growth.

“This expansion is attuned to the policy enunciated by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to decongest Metro Manila – thus greatly enhancing mobility of people, goods and services and, at the same time, dramatically improving quality of life in the metropolis.

“It also augurs well for the realization of the President’s larger vision of setting up a Luzon Urban Beltway traversing the growth corridors of Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) and Central Luzon,” the MNTC said.

With Segment 8.1 in place, motorists from South Luzon Expressway can expediently reach the NLEX via C-5, Katipunan and Mindanao Avenues, and Segment 8.1, thereby avoiding the costly and time-consuming traffic jams along EDSA and other choke points within the metropolis.

A total of 3,347 households of informal settlers affected by the expansion project have been relocated by the National Housing Authority (NHA) which was allocated a P600-million budget at P180,000 cost/entitlement per household.

The NHA says it has relocated all affected families as of Feb. 28. this year.

Some 2,667 households (80 percent) were relocated to the following areas: 801 households in Brgy. Punturin here; 110 in Marilao, Bulacan; 56 in Caysio, Marilao, Bulacan; 186 in Minuyan, San Jose del Monte, Bulacan; and 112 in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

Some 272 households went back to their own provinces under the ‘Balik-Probinsiya’ program; while the rest were either disqualified or were informal settlers on private properties.

The relocated households were each housed in 20-22.5-sq.m. “starter” houses at P200 amortization per month during the first five years.

The houses on 32-40 sq.m. individual services lots are payable over 30 years at six-percent interest.

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