Thursday, 16 July 2009

Northrail update

Construction work on the 82-kilometer Phase One of the Northrail Project (from Caloocan to Malolos) is now proceeding at an accelerated pace. To mitigate slippages, simultaneous segmental construction shall be the methodology henceforth.

At the Malolos Viaduct, the construction of 573 bored piles has already begun. Procurement of brand new rolling stock is ongoing. The Railways and Systems Planning Team is scheduled to check on the capability of suppliers to deliver the rolling stock. It is expected that in the first quarter of 2009, the design of line and track for Section 1 shall have been accomplished. Design of stations shall be finished by August of 2009 after which construction will ensue.

Engineering works, relocation of informal settlers who occupied the abandoned Philippine National Railways alignment, and the flow of funds for the project are proceeding smoothly. Northrail has increased its technical capacity to expedite the review and approval of the design.

More than an estimated 50,000 informal settlers used to occupy a large part of the right-of-way on the Caloocan to Clark alignment. Of this number, some 23,000 families have so far been relocated to in-town relocation sites. In-town relocation means affected families are relocated in the same town where they come from, with the assurance of eventual land ownership. They were likewise assured of improved living conditions, as resettlement sites are developed with provision for all the basic facilities and utilities

The Northrail Project will boost employment opportunities in the countryside. During the construction stage alone, the Project is expected to generate about 34,000 jobs, directly hired for the implementation of the project. Northrail plans to privatize the Operations and Maintenance (O&M) of the Project upon completion of construction. The O&M is expected to directly generate about 800 jobs.

Apart from the employment opportunities, additional income will be directly generated when the Project finally comes to full swing. These include indirect jobs and enterprise opportunities for those residing or holding businesses along the alignment. Additional work demand from supplies, equipment rentals and other construction related activities will also take place.

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