The incoming chief of the Public Works Department said “major changes” in Metro Manila’s traffic situation will happen over the next two to three years as the agency is set to ramp up infrastructure spending.
“The directive is to hit the ground running. There would be major changes over the next two to three years. You will feel it, we will have some major infrastructure over the next three years,” Mark Villar, the incoming secretary of the Public Works Department, told reporters.
Villar said the agency is prioritizing the construction of the P3.03-billion Edsa-Taft flyover, which was put on hold in 2013. The planned flyover is a 1.2 kilometers, two lanes in both directions on Edsa spanning Malibay Bridge from Makati City to F.B. Harrison Street in Pasay City.
The Public Works Department is also pursuing the construction of a bridge that would cross Pasig River to connect Bonifacio Global City in the Taguig-Makati area and Ortigas Center in Pasig. The phase one will connect Sta. Monica Street in Kapitolyo, Pasig City, to Lawton Avenue, Makati, while the second phase will run from Lawton to the Bonifacio Global City viaduct, then from Shaw Boulevard to the Sta. Monica viaduct.
Other projects include the C5 Road to Julia Vargas Flyover in Pasig City; Katipunan to C5 Road Flyover and Miriam to Gate 3 of Ateneo de Manila University flyover.
“These are major flyovers, so that the traffic problems will be resolved,” Villar said.
Villar said he was coordinating with incoming Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade to address the traffic problem in Metro Manila.
When asked if the Duterte administration can solve the traffic problem in Metro Manila, Villar said, “It’s hard to quantify right now. We can take big steps towards solving it. I think we are planning to increase our infrastructure spending, with that somehow we can catch up.”
Villar said the traffic problem in the country was a “function of underspending on infrastructure.”
“So, now that infrastructure spending would go up, I have a feeling that we will be able to start minimizing traffic problems,” he added.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency estimated that the daily cost of traffic in Metro Manila was P2.4 billion.
DPWH has a total budget of P363.54 billion this year, higher by 33 percent from last year’s P273.91 billion.
Of the total budget, the agency will be spending P204.12 billion for highways, P64.20 billion for flood control and P95.23 billion for other projects.
The bulk of the budget would be distributed in Mindanao amounting to P100.99 billion, followed by Northern Luzon, P73.14 billion; Southern Luzon, P62.53 billion; Visayas, P59.13 billion and Metro Manila, P23.63 billion.