After announcing the soft opening of its much-awaited Skyway 3 project in December, San Miguel Corporation (SMC) president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang has said the structure of the northbound section of its Skyway Extension project is now 70% done and on-schedule for completion by end of the year.
The PHP 10-B project, which is fully funded by SMC, will extend the Skyway from Susana Heights on the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) to Sucat and back, and provide direct access to the elevated section of the Skyway.
It will connect the SLEX and the Muntinlupa Cavite Expressway (MCX) to the Skyway at Susanna Heights, bypassing Alabang to make travel from south to north via the Skyway System seamless and much shorter.
“We are on track to deliver the northbound section of the Skyway Extension project by December, and with this, motorists from the south can easily access Makati, Manila, San Juan, Quezon City, and the North Luzon Expressway,” Ang said.
“Under normal Metro Manila conditions, you will be lucky if you can get from SLEX to the North Luzon Expressway in under three hours. You would have to pass through traffic gridlocks in Alabang, Magallanes, practically the whole of EDSA, or various areas through Manila. With the Skyway Extension and the completed Skyway 3, you can get there in 30 minutes without stopping,” he added.
The project, which started in late 2019, is also aimed at eliminating traffic buildup along SLEX heading to Alabang and the Alabang viaduct.
Previously, from five lanes on the SLEX, the expressway would narrow to just three lanes at the Alabang viaduct, causing huge traffic jams not just on the expressway, but also on public roads feeding into it in Muntinlupa and Las Pinas.
The Skyway Extension will expand capacity by adding three lanes northbound and two lanes southbound. With motorists coming from Cavite, Laguna, and Batangas able to bypass Alabang, the easing of traffic in Muntinlupa and along the Alabang-Zapote Road, is also seen.
Originally set for full completion by end of this year, the project, like all other major infrastructure projects, has been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Work had to stop when the lockdown was implemented. We resumed work in mid-June and because of health protocols, we had to limit the number of workers at the site. Apart from limitations on the workforce, we have also had to contend with delays in the shipment of materials, due to restrictions and limitations brought on by the pandemic,” said Ang.
“But despite these challenges, our engineers and our contractors have come through. They work double- time, so we can deliver the northbound section as scheduled, by December. The southbound section will follow July next year,” he added.
Currently being done are the installation of steel girders which will support the expressway and the laying of pre-cast slabs, which will make up the road itself.
“After this, we only need to cement the gaps between slabs, and then apply asphalt. While the weather is also a factor, especially when doing finishing work, we don’t see any problems meeting our December deadline for the northbound section,” Ang said.
Apart from working on the Skyway Extension, Ang said that SMC’s infrastructure group is also almost done with the improving and reconfiguration of Skyway 1 and 2, which has allowed for the opening of an additional lane from Alabang to Magallanes, to further ensure the smooth flow of traffic.