Skyway 3 to remain toll-free until Feb. 1, Ramon Ang says

Robie de Guzman   •   January 14, 2021   •   1524

MANILA, Philippines – Access to the 18-kilometer Skyway Stage 3 elevated expressway will remain free until February 1, Ramon Ang, San Miguel Corporation (SMC) president and chief operating officer, announced.

In a post on Facebook, Ang said the toll-free access to Skyway 3 was extended to allow motorists to enjoy “seamless driving” over Metro Manila’s congested streets.

The SMC earlier announced that the toll on the elevated expressway is free until January 29.

“All access points and seven lanes in select areas will be available to motorists starting January 15 still for free – extended until February 1 – so that our motorists can experience and enjoy seamless driving along this engineering marvel over Metro Manila’s congested streets,” Ang said.

The SMC said the entire seven lanes of Skyway 3 will be fully opened to vehicles starting Friday, January 15.

In preparation for its full opening, the toll road was temporarily closed to motorists from 10 p.m. on January 13 until the whole day of January 14 for inspection, set-up, and staging of the official opening.

In a separate statement, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said it has conducted an audit on Skyway 3 to ensure that all systems are in place for the safety of road users.

“Safety audit, as well as stakeholders’ feedback is necessary as road traffic measures must adopt to fit with the current road situation,” DPWH Secretary Mark Villar said.

Four of the seven lanes of the toll road was soft-opened to public last December 29.

Although partially-opened, Skyway Stage 3 ramps are still being completed by San Miguel Corporation thru CITRA Central Expressway Corporation.

All ramps are expected to be completed and opened in 2021, according to Villar.

Once fully-completed, motorists will be able to utilize all the Skyway Stage 3 ramps at Buendia, Quirino, Plaza Dilao and Nagtahan, Aurora Boulevard, E. Rodriguez, Quezon Avenue, Sgt. Rivera, and the NLEX interchange.

Skyway 3 connects the South Luzon Expressway and NLEX and will serve as an alternative to EDSA with its access points that traverse Makati, Manila, San Juan, and Quezon City.

SMC installs second batch of MRT-7 trains; targets test-run by end of 2022

Maris Federez   •   October 25, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — San Miguel Corporation (SMC) has mounted two more brand new Hyundai Rotem train sets on the tracks of the 22-km Metro Rail Transit Line 7 (MRT-7) project.

This is the second batch of trainsets following the arrival of the first batch last month.

“Work continues non-stop on the MRT-7 project, so we can meet our target start of operations by end of 2022. I’m glad to report that we’re on track to meet all the key milestones we expect this year,” SMC president Ramon S. Ang said in a statement released Monday (October 25).

The company expects to receive and install 6 of the total 36 sets before the year ends.

“Our ongoing MRT-7 project and other existing and planned mass transport systems should remain the backbone of mobility solutions in the city but we need to integrate these with other sustainable means of moving around to truly address the immediate concerns of the metropolis and best meet the needs of everybody,” Ang added.

The statement said that similar to the first two train sets that arrived last September, these were mounted on the MRT-7 tracks between University and Tandang Sora avenues, last October 23 and October 24.

Ang said that transportation and placement of the trainsets on the tracks is a meticulous process, stressing that such is applied to ensure that the safety of the people and trainsets is a priority.

“As work on the MRT-7 project progresses further and faster, we will be able to increase the number of train shipments from Korea in the coming months and mount these on the tracks later on for testing. In the meantime, we regularly inspect the trains in storage and are taking all necessary measures to properly maintain all trainsets so they will be in tip-top shape once we are ready to test and operate,” Ang said.

The statement added that the 56.03 percent completion of the project indicated that the MRT-7 may start test runs by December 2022.

“People who have not been able to visit South Korea or travel around using its trains will be in for a great experience, whether they are commuting to work or school.  As we expect the economy to continue to open more especially in the coming years, MRT-7 will be ready in time to serve the public as our economy rebounds and resumes growth,” Ang said.

For its first year of operation, the MRT-7 is estimated to accommodate 300,000 passengers per day and a maximum projection of 850,000 passengers per day on the 12th year.

“Given the need for social distancing and limited capacity enforced in public transportation amid the constant threat of COVID-19, we don’t expect to achieve these numbers right away but rest assured, the trains will serve their purpose of bringing more people from Quezon City to Bulacan faster and safer post-pandemic,” Ang said.

The entire MRT system will have a total of 108 cars.

Once complete, the MRT-7 will reduce travel time from North Avenue in Quezon City to the City of San Jose Del Monte in Bulacan to just 35 minutes.

The MRT-7 will have 14 stations, namely: Quezon North Avenue Joint Station; Quezon Memorial Circle; University Avenue; Tandang Sora; Don Antonio; Batasan; Manggahan; Dona Carmen; Regalado; Mindanao Avenue; Quirino; Sacred Heart; Tala; and San Jose del Monte.

Through the Quezon North Avenue Joint Station, the MRT-7 will link with MRT-3 and LRT-1. —/mbmf

SMC gets gov’t approval for Pasig River Expressway project

Robie de Guzman   •   September 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — San Miguel Corporation (SMC) has secured a greenlight from the Philippine government for its Pasig River Expressway (PAREX) project, more than a year since it was proposed.

SMC president Ramon Ang said the approval of the project was signified by the signing of the project’s Supplemental Toll Operations Agreement by Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, and Toll Regulatory Board Executive Director Alvin Carullo.

PAREX is a 19.37-km, six-lane elevated road that will run along the banks of the Pasig River — from Radial Road 10 in the City of Manila to C-6 road in Taguig City.

The project will have three major segments – Segment 1 is from R-10 to Plaza Azul, Manila; Segment 2 from Pandacan to C-5, and Segment 3 from C-5 to C6.

PAREX will also connect to, and utilize a 2.7-km. portion of the new Skyway Stage 3 from Nagtahan to Plaza Azul.

“This will be an inclusive, user-centered infrastructure that will integrate various modes of transportation beyond cars. It will have dedicated bike lanes, walkways, a bus rapid transit system, among others,” Ang said.

With the opening of the Skyway 3 earlier this year, Ang said the Skyway system now serves as the seamless link between north and south Metro Manila.

Once operational, PAREX will serve as the east-west connection, linking up with Skyway 3 and SEMME making virtually every major city in Metro Manila accessible via the expressway.

SMC will fully shoulder the P95-billion cost to build PAREX, with no taxpayer or government money used.

Ang also said that PAREX will finally complete the long-envisioned north-south-east-west expressway connectivity for the region.

He added that with SMC’s P2-B Pasig River rehabilitation initiative, it is looking to expand water transport through ferry boats that will link people to cities along the waterfronts of Metro Manila – including Laguna Lake, Pasig River, Manila Bay, Marikina River, among others.

The SMC is tapping architect, environmental planner, and green urbanism advocate Arch. Felino Palafox Jr. to help in building the PAREX project.

“Together with Palafox and Associates, we will build what will be the country’s first sustainable infrastructure, one that will not just be ‘green’, but will have multiple uses and direct environmental, social, and economic benefits to Filipinos,” Ang said.

“PAREX will also be for pedestrians and cyclists. It will not just be for motorized transportation and convenience, but also for maintaining our health and well-being. It will not just ‘beautify’ the surroundings — it will rehabilitate the Pasig River and inspire urban renewal in Metro Manila,” he added.

Ang expressed gratitude to the government for studying the project and “ultimately seeing how it can address traffic congestion and transportation inadequacies” throughout Metro Manila, as well as how it can greatly benefit the environment and improve life in the city.

Skyway 3 will be no-truck zone starting July 12 — SMC

Robie de Guzman   •   July 7, 2021

The 18-kilometer Skyway Stage 3 will be a no-truck zone and will be dedicated to Class 1 vehicles with Autosweep RFID stickers starting July 12, the San Miguel Corporation (SMC) said Wednesday.

In a statement, SMC President Ramon Ang said the policy seeks to address safety concerns on the elevated expressway.

“We continue to look for ways to improve safety and user experience on our expressways, especially the new Skyway 3. We have implemented a number of measures to ensure safety, prevent over-speeding, and facilitate the more efficient flow of vehicles while still providing motorists significantly reduced travel times,” Ang said.

“Limiting Skyway 3 to regular or Class 1 vehicles will also further ensure safety for all users. With more private vehicles diverted to Skyway 3, our public roads will be freed up and decongested. This will benefit, number one, our public transportation and commuters. It will also be beneficial to transporters of goods, who can opt to use the at-grade sections of the Skyway system where tolls are lower, as well as public roads which are free, as they are subsidized by the government,” Ang added.

The announcement on Skyway Stage 3 being a no-truck zone came after the SMC said it would begin collecting toll next week after deferring it for almost seven months.

The SMC earlier said the toll collection is in compliance with the issuance of a Toll Operating Permit and a Notice to Start Collecting Toll by the TRB on Skyway Stage 3.

Collected fees will enable the company to ensure continued efficient operations, maintenance, and safe driving conditions on the elevated expressway–particularly as daily traffic puts a heavy strain on the road infrastructure, necessitating significant maintenance costs, it said.

The Skyway Stage 3 project was constructed with no cost to the government. The SMC said it had spent over P80 billion or more than double its original cost to complete the project over a period that spans two administrations.

The elevated expressway connects the South Luzon Expressway and North Luzon Expressway, reducing the travel time from Alabang to Balintawak and vice versa, to only 30 minutes from the previous three hours, and from Buendia to Balintawak, to only 20 minutes.


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