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Diggings for P350-B metro subway plan to start in Q4

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) will launch early excavation activities for its Metro Manila subway—one of the largest projects under the administration’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program—before the end of 2019.

Gary de Guzman, Transportation undersecretary for finance, said on Tuesday that the country’s first underground train was among a host of projects aimed at easing Metro Manila’s traffic woes.

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“We will start actual excavation by the fourth quarter of this year,” De Guzman said during a briefing on Tuesday held after President Duterte’s fourth State of the Nation Address.

The DOTr led a groundbreaking ceremony for the P350-billion Metro Manila subway project last February. It said actual drilling will start in 2020 once it completes the assembly of a tunnel boring machine.

The DOTr and Japanese contractors, including design and construction giant Shimizu Corp., are currently overseeing the assembly of the boring machine, which will clear a path for the 36-kilometer underground train that will run from Quezon City to Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City.

De Guzman added that the DOTr was hoping to finish the first three subway stations by the fourth quarter 2021. These are the Mindanao Avenue, North Avenue and Tandang Sora stations.

The subway will also have stops in Quezon Avenue, East Avenue, Anonas, Kaptipunan, Ortigas North, Ortigas South, Kalayaan Avenue, Bonifacio Globe City, Cayetano Boulevard and the Food Terminal Inc. complex. It will be fully completed by 2025, the DOTr said.

The government earlier signed a loan agreement with the Japan International Cooperation Agency, which is funding most of the subway line through an overseas development assistance loan.

The loan will have an interest rate of 0.1 percent a year and a repayment period of 40 years, including a 12-year grace period.

The subway project is the centerpiece of a massive plan to inject new life in the country’s railway sector, which once spanned 900 kilometers in Luzon in the 1970s. Years of neglect left the country with 77-km in railway through the Metro Rail Transit Line 3, Light Rail Transit Line 1, LRT-2 and Philippine National Railways.

Under its current pipeline, the DOTr wants to build about 322-km of railway lines by 2022. Including projects under construction, that footprint will increase to 1,900 km.

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TAGS: Business, Department of Transportation (DOTr), Infrastructure
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