By KRIS BAYOS
MANILA, Philippines — The operator of the Metro Manila Skyway System (Skyway) Sunday urged the government to allow it to proceed with the construction of the elevated expressway that will connect the North and South Luzon Expressways, even if another proposal for a connector road recently surfaced.
This, as the Citra Metro Manila Tollways Corporation (CMMTC), concessionaire of Skyway, said it is financially ready to finance the construction of Skyway Project Stage 3, which will run from the Buendia Exit of Skyway 2 to Balintawak in Quezon City, where the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) starts.
CMMTC officials earlier disclosed that it is ready with at least $1.5 billion to invest in infrastructure development in the Philippines. This will cover investment for Skyway Stage 3, which will cost about P22 to P24 billion and Skyway Stage 4 or C6, which will run from Parañaque to Antipolo, and will cost about P28 billion.
A source in the CMMTC said they are ready to undertake the project but the issuance of notice to proceed from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPHW) is getting in their way.
“We are financially ready to pursue the projects. We can even do the Skyway Stages 3 and 4 simultaneously but we do not have the notice to proceed yet,” the source said.
Industry sources said the delay is likely because of an alleged proposal by the Manila Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC) to build a similar NLEx-SLEx connector road through an elevated road over the tracks of the Philippine National Railways and will run from Valenzuela to Buendia.
But a source from the CMMTC claimed MPTC’s 13.5-kilometer connector road is different from Skyway’s 14.2-kilometer Stage 3 since it will predominantly traverse the median of C3 Road and Araneta Avenue and cuts through the busy thoroughfares of Central Manila in Osmeña Highway, Quirino Avenue, Sta. Mesa, Araneta Ave. and A. Bonifacio Road.
The source dismissed the allegation that pursuing both the Skyway Stage 3 and the Connector Road will be redundant as it will cater different motoring markets.
“We don’t mind if government allows both CMMTC and MPTC to undertake their projects. It is even better for both projects to be implemented since it will be both beneficial to the motorists, without government spending for it,” he said.
The source said the government could no longer scrap the Skyway 3 project just because of the proposed Connector Road since it is part of the Skyway project concept approved by the government in 1995.