Wednesday, 6 May 2009

MMDA's Elevated U-turn interchange in C5/kalayaan Completed

Motorists can now forget about traffic congestion along the perennially clogged C-5 road with the recent completion of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA)’s revolutionary elevated U-turn interchange, the first of its kind in the Philippines , and perhaps in the world. [Not so.]

Completed in a record time of four months, the Phase 2 (South Side) of the C-5/Kalayaan Urban Interchange will be inaugurated today, a testament to the MMDA’s commitment to relieve Metro Manila of its decades-old problems on traffic.

The man behind the elevated U-turn project – MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando – likes to think of it as the newest traffic engineering solution that has so far been conceived to address the metropolis’ traffic situation.

“With the opening of the second C-5/Kalayaan Interchange, we can now further free up traffic along C-5 and Kalayaan Avenue , as well as speed up travel towards Quezon City and southern part of Metro Manila,” Fernando said.

The C-5/Kalayaan Urban Interchange project will easily connect the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) in Taguig City to the north end of C-5, the McArthur Highway in Valenzuela City and the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), according to Fernando.

And unlike the conventional flyovers and tunnels, an elevated U-turn does not take up much road space, making it more applicable in urban areas with relatively small land area, he stressed.

“With the limited urban space in Metro Manila, the C-5/Kalayaan Urban Interchange requires only minimal space, “Fernando said.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will formally grace today’s formal inauguration of the U-turn interchange near the C-5/Kalayaan Avenue intersection in Makati City, along with the mayors and congressmen of the six cities that straddle the 19.7-kilometer C-5 road – Quezon City, Mandaluyong, Pasig, Marikina, Makati, Taguig and the municipality of Pateros.

“An innovation in road engineering” was how MMDA Assistant General Manager for Planning Dr. Corazon B. Cruz, the project director, describes the recently completed elevated U-turn.

AGM Cruz said billions of pesos in fuel and time savings, vehicle maintenance, and government expenses on personnel, equipment, and electricity will be saved with the full operation of the elevated U-turn interchanges.

The first elevated U-turn interchange, located at the north bound lane of C-5, was completed in August 2008, after only six months of construction. The second phase commenced four months later, on December 2, 2008 and completed on April 17, 2009.

The full operation of the two elevated U-turn interchanges is expected to increase travel speed at the C-5/Kalayaan corridor up to 43.61 kilometer per hour (kph), a dramatic improvement to the days when the C-5/Kalayaan intersection was still a four-phase traffic.

“By removing the traffic signal lights and closing the ( C-5/Kalayaan Avenue ) intersection, traffic flow is now continuous, providing motorists an unimpeded travel,” Fernando said in explaining the U-turn traffic concept.

Developed in view of the MMDA’s continuous effort to seek new alternatives to improve the metropolis’ traffic condition, the elevated U-turn scheme underwent rigid traffic simulation tests conducted by the agency’s Traffic Engineering Center (TEC) and the National Center for Transportation Studies (NCTS) of the University of the Philippines .

The elevated U-turn interchange was chosen over the original proposal to construct a vehicular underpass ortunnel along the C-5 road, which proved to be more impractical and expensive.

Fernando said the elevated U-turn interchange does not entail the utilization of traffic signal lights, 24-hour lighting, or traffic enforcers, and is not prone to flooding compared to a tunnel.

“We conducted numerous studies for this project and we found out that the elevated U-turn is much more viable and would be of great help in reducing traffic gridlock in the area,” Fernando said.

Fernando said C-5 road is now the best alternative for motorists using Edsa, thus freeing up traffic volume in the 24-kilometer national highway.

“There is nothing like this in the world,” Fernando said of the elevated U-turn interchanges.


  1. oh really.. i hope you are just reporting what was said and not really taken with this brilliant idea of Fernando. :)

    it may have solved the present traffic congestion along that area but how about future traffic demands? i conducted a traffic analysis of this project and found out that by 2015, this elaveted u-turn will not be able to contain the number of vehicles and thus heavy traffic will be experienced. how about the configuration of u-turn? does it follow minimum turning radius, correct elevation, etc for safe driving?

    i do not oppose such infrastructures that would help alleviate traffic conditions but there are several important design elements in transportation engineering that have to be considered before claiming that one is indeed the solution to the present problems.

  2. Good job--haven't seen any elevated u-turns in Europe and I've been living here for 30 years. If it eases congestion, then thank Mr Fernando for it, not criticize the man.

  3. they've been in use here in thailand already... and the elevated u turns here takes less space, and longer elevated road (to accommodate longer queue) than what was constructed in pasig.