Connecting North And South: The NLEX-SLEX road link projects

Be prepared. Traffic Armageddon is upon us cityfolk. Then again, aren’t we already experiencing it every single day of our urban lives?

This time though, we are warned it’s going to be worse than worse thanks to various projects that will commence construction within the year (as it is being projected at this time) all in the name of alleviating the age-old traffic woes of the metropolis and improving the metropolis’ transportation system.

The website MMRoadway.com listed about 15 of these projects; for today, the Urban Roamer is going tackle two of them which are expected to change the way how Metro Manila will be interconnected with the rest of Luzon, both North and South.

the NLEX-SLEX road link projects (courtesy of MMRoadway.com)

Metro Manila Skyway

When the Metro Manila Skyway was first conceived in the 1990s, it was envisioned to be an elevated road network that will link the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) to the South Luzon Expressway. (SLEX) Construction began in 1995 with the project’s Stage 1, which involved the construction of an elevated expressway from Gil Puyat Avenue (formerly Buendia Ave.) to Bicutan, mostly following the alignment of the SLEX. After Stage 1’s completion in 1999. Stage 2 which involved extending the Skyway to Alabang took a while to be started due to some issues, but work eventually began in 2009 and finished about 2 years later.

This year, (around April) Stage 3 of the Skyway project is set to commence which will finally realize the vision of connecting the NLEX and SLEX through the construction of an elevated expressway of almost 15 kms. from Puyat to Balintawak right where the NLEX begins. This stretch will follow the alignment of rest of Osmeña Highway to Quirino Avenue then to Araneta. Sgt. Rivera, and A. Bonifacio Avenues. Let the video below illustrate what the project is about a bit further:

One thing to note about this project that although Skyway’s original builder the Citra Metro Manila Tollways Corporation is still behind the construction of this phase, it also enjoys the significant backing of one of the country’s leading conglomerates, San Miguel Corporation. That’s an interesting tidbit to note considering a rival conglomerate is backing a roadway project that will complement Skyway Stage 3.

NLEX-SLEX Connector Road and Manila North Expressway Project (NLEX-Harbor Link Road)

Another project expected to commence this year (in July) would be the NLEX-SLEX Connector Road, a project backed by Metro Pacific Tollways Development Corporation (MPTDC) backed by the Metro Pacific conglomerate of Manny V. Pangilinan.

While in some aspects, it is similar to the Skyway Stage 3 project in connecting NLEX and SLEX, (in fact both will share a common alignment from Puyat Avenue to the Philippine National Railway track alignment in Santa Mesa) the planned connector road then diverge to follow the alignment of the PNR tracks until it reaches C-3 Road in Caloocan. From there, the road will link to the ongoing Manila North Expressway Project (also known as the NLEX-Harbor Link Road) which involves an elevated expressway that also follows the PNR track alignment from C-3 Road to MacArthur Highway, (known as NLEX Segment 10) then an at-grade to be constructed from MacArthur Highway to the NLEX-Mindanao Avenue interchange (known as NLEX Segment 9) which will eventually lead to the C-5 road network.

the NLEX Segments 9 and 10 (courtesy of MNTC.com)

It should be noted that NLEX Segments 9 and 10 are expected to be completed in 2015, so there should be a seamless north-south connection by the time the NLEX-SLEX Connector Road is completed by 2016 or 2017.

IMPROVED TRAFFIC FLOW…HOPEFULLY

With both projects to start rolling this year, one can expect heavy traffic along where these projects are to be built within the next 2 years. It remains to be seen whether these two projects when completed can truly alleviate the traffic situation in the metropolis. For the sake of the city, we can only hope the answer will be affirmative. And for that, we will just have to bear the sacrifice that will be borne throughout that period.

acknowledgements as well to Wikipedia and Rappler

© The Urban Roamer

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