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Naia Expressway now a year delayed

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Naia Expressway now a year delayed

SMC says part of toll road may open in time for Apec
Part of the unfinished Naia Expressway project.  PHOTO TAKEN FROM A BUS WINDOW BY RICK ALBERTO

Part of the unfinished Naia Expressway project. PHOTO TAKEN FROM A BUS WINDOW BY RICK ALBERTO

CONGLOMERATE San Miguel Corp. (SMC) is urging the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to speed up the delivery of right of way for the Naia Expressway toll road, with delays in the turnover of land putting the project about a year behind schedule.

Norberto Conti, head of technical infrastructure at San Miguel Holdings Corp., nevertheless said Tuesday that the conglomerate was still hoping to finish a key portion of the toll road linking the Naia airport terminals and Entertainment City ahead of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Leaders’ Summit in November.

He said this portion could be ready for use by visiting foreign dignitaries if the DPWH would deliver about 400 meters of right of way. Other issues also involve the relocation of certain infrastructure such as the electricity posts of Manila Electric Co. (Meralco).

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Right now, the Naia Expressway is more than 40 percent finished. However, the original plan was to have the project about 80 percent complete at this point, according Conti.

He added that SMC was working to finish the entire 5.4-kilometer project ahead of the government’s new target of April 2016. Originally, the toll road should have been completed in phases from April through October 2015.

“We are ready to build but we can’t do so unless we have somewhere to build on,” said Alec Cruz, San Miguel Holdings head of toll ways.

A major hurdle is the right of way for key areas such as Villamor Airbase, Naia Road, Tambo and locations along the Qurino-to-Roxas Boulevard stretch. Cruz said these have yet to be delivered by the DPWH.

“We have called the DPWH’s attention to this several times, and I’m hopeful that they will exert extra effort to acquire the necessary [right of way],” Cruz said.

Cruz, in the statement, also sought the cooperation of Meralco and telecommunications companies “whose facilities need to be relocated to make way for construction.”

“Their support is essential to the completion of the project, not to mention the improvement of traffic conditions in their respective areas, which are now affected by stalled construction activities,” he said.

The Naia Expressway aims to provide access to the busy passenger terminals of the Naia as well as the Skyway and the Manila-Cavite Expressway.

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It starts at the Skyway, which SMC operates, then follows the existing road alignments over Sales Ave., Andrews Ave., Domestic Road and Naia Road. It will also have exit ramps at Macapagal Boulevard and Entertainment City, which is being developed into a casino gaming hub to rival locations in Macau and Singapore.

SMC won the Naia Expressway PPP project in 2013 after its P11-billion bid bested sole rival Metro Pacific Investments Corp., which had offered P305 million. The winner will build and operate the expressway for a period of 30 years.

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TAGS: Business, economy, Naia Expressway, News, San Miguel Corp.
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