PNoy approves Citra's NLEX-SLEX Connector Road project means BUSINESS

President Benigno Aquino III has approved a multibillion-peso road project that would connect the north and south of Manila.

In a statement, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said the President has cleared the Metro Manila Skyway (MMS) Stage 3 Project, which will connect South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) to the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX).

The project will be fully funded by the Citra Central Expressway Corporation at an estimated cost of P26.5 billion. DOTC and the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) will oversee construction.

This new road is meant to help decongest EDSA and other major roads such as Quezon Avenue, Araneta Avenue, Nagtahan, and Quirino – thus reducing travel time from Buendia to Balintawak from the usual two hours or more to just 15 minutes.

A Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) report said traffic congestion in Metro Manila has cost the country P2.4 billion in economic and opportunity losses.

The flood-free, mostly elevated six-lane expressway, will run to 14.2 kilometers and will help reduce pollution, provide greater comfort and safety to the motorists and result in large savings in travel time, fuel and vehicle maintenance costs. The project will also provide 6,000 direct jobs and an additional 10,000 indirect jobs during construction.

The project is scheduled for completion in three years as preparatory and advance work will commence before the end of this year.  Round the clock construction works is expected by early second quarter of 2014.

Transport Secretary Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo Abaya said that the first section of the roadway from Buendia to Nagtahan may be opened for service by early 2016.

"DOTC along with DPWH, MMDA and local governments of Makati, Manila and Quezon City will surely coordinate and do [their] best to minimize traffic inconvenience throughout the route of the project.” Abaya said.

The project is separate from another connector road that Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC) is pursuing at a cost of P22.95 billion. The MPTC project – a four-lane elevated expressway -- will run to 13.4 kilometers.

Malacanang has yet to approve MPTC’s project, as DOTC is still studying whether a new supplemental toll operations agreement (STOA) or an amended contract will expedited the company’s project.

Without the amendment to the STOA, government rules require that a Swiss challenge be undertaken since the NLEX-SLEX Connector Road Project is an unsolicited proposal. is the online news portal of TV5, which like MPTC is chaired by Manuel V. Pangilinan.