Ayala toll road project hits a snag
SMC-Citra opposition may delay PPP ventureBy Doris C. Dumlao |Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Ayala and San Miguel-Citra groups are at odds over the proposed road linkage between the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) and the Daang Hari toll road, further delaying the first infrastructure project under the Aquino administration’s public-private partnership (PPP) program.
The Ayala group needs to seal a tripartite agreement with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and SLEx concessionaire South Luzon Tollroad Corp. (SLTC) to establish the road linkage with SLEx. The Citra/San Miguel consortium had taken over SLTC since early 2012.
Inquirer sources said SLTC was critical of the new design proposed by Ayala for the linkage, fearing this would worsen traffic conditions in its jurisdiction. Separately, the sources said SLTC was concerned over plans to cut or ball 283 trees in its concession area along Susana Heights as this might draw flak from environmentalist groups.
Daang Hari is a four-kilometer major arterial road that will connect Cavite’s rapidly growing towns to Metro Manila via SLEx. Ayala and the San Miguel/Citra groups likewise battled for the right to undertake this project under the PPP program in end-2011. About 30 percent of the arterial road is complete, bulk of which had been undertaken by the government prior to the entry of Ayala as concessionaire.
PPP Center executive director Cosette Canilao said a memorandum of agreement had been drafted and already approved by the DPWH and Ayala. “But there are questions from the SLTC board so that’s the cause of delay now,” she said, adding the traffic management was SLTC’s biggest concern.
Other Inquirer sources explained that SLTC was opposed to the plan to create a tunnel or undercrossing connecting the Daang Hari to SLEx on grounds that this would worsen traffic conditions in the area, cause damage to its own toll road and that the revision was not part of the original design/terms approved by SLTC even prior to the entry of the San Miguel/Citra group as controlling shareholder.
Instead, SLTC wanted Ayala to revert to the original design of building a roundabout or “rotunda” at the Daang Hari-Susana Heights interchange, noting that the DPWH itself had previously backed such “rotunda” model for both north- and south-bound traffic “in consideration of traffic safety,” the sources explained.