5-km elevated walkway network on Edsa to rise with help of ADB
MANILA, Philippines—By 2022, pedestrians and commuters can hop from one public transport to another along Edsa, Metro Manila’s main and congested thoroughfare, safely and seamlessly through what project proponents describe as greenways to be financed partly by an Asian Development Bank (ADB) loan.
In a statement on Monday (Dec. 14), ADB said it approved the P5.9-billion loan for the Philippines’ Edsa Greenways Project, a project led by the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
The project seeks to build and repair a total of 5 km of covered and elevated walkways near four Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Metro Rail Transit (MRT) stations—Balintawak, Cubao, Guadalupe and Taft.
Total cost could reach P8.5 billion, according to earlier estimates by the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).
ADB said the project will have 5-meter wide lanes with elevators and monitoring systems. These would be easily accessible to pedestrians, including the elderly, pregnant women, children and the disabled, ADB added. The walkways, it said, would be well-lit and disaster-resilient.
ADB documents last August showed that the plan was to complete the greenways leading to Balintawak LRT and Guadalupe MRT stations by June 2022.
The walkways in Cubao and Taft could be partially operating in May 2022 and completed by end of that year.
The Edsa Greenways Project is on the Duterte administration’s ambitious “Build, Build, Build” list, which is aimed at ushering in a “golden age of infrastructure.”
But as the COVID-19 pandemic inflicted a deep economic recession— expected to be the worst in Philippine post-war history—the government plans to proceed with big-ticket infrastructure projects to generate jobs and stir economic activity.
ADB said the Edsa Greenways Project was expected to help Metro Manila recover from the pandemic. Jobs were expected and at least P3 billion in local raw materials would be used. Civil works contracts are expected to be awarded in the first half of 2021, ADB said.
The project, ADB said, “is expected to cause minimal traffic disruptions.” It said an international consulting firm had been hired to work on feasibility study with the DOTr with funding from ADB.
The Edsa Greenways Project would also be financed by P720 million in borrowings from the ADB-administered Asean Catalytic Green Finance Facility.
In 2019, ADB said Metro Manila was Asia’s most congested metropolis, taking into account its population, land area, as well as length of road networks.
ADB cited a Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) report showing that average daily traffic along EDSA climbed to 405,882 vehicles last year from 383,828 in 2018.
A separate study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) estimated Metro Manila traffic congestion costing the economy some P3.5 billion per day prior to the pandemic.
“This project will encourage more Filipinos to switch from private vehicles to public transport,” said Shuji Kimura, ADB senior transport specialist for Southeast Asia. Public transport in Metro Manila, Kimura said, is “being strengthened” through at least three projects—North-South Commuter railway, Metro Manila subway and upgraded LRT and MRT systems.
Kimura said the project will use “cutting-edge technology for cantilever overhead walkways.” It will “provide safe, inclusive and equitable access for commuters while lowering carbon dioxide emissions,” Kimura added.
The Edsa Greenway Project is “an integral part of the government’s transport strategy to make Metro Manila a better place to live, work and visit,” said Hiroaki Yamaguchi, ADB Southeast Asia transport and communications director.
“The project is an important part of our contribution to helping make that vision a reality for Filipinos,” Yamaguchi said.
In 2020, ADB will lend the Philippines a record P200 billion as the government ramped up borrowings to finance COVID-19 response.
But up to 70 percent of financing from ADB was earmarked for infrastructure investments which feature high fiscal and job multiplier effects.
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