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SMC’s SLEX Elevated Extension to ease MM traffic
PRRD leads formal opening rites
SAN Miguel Corporation (SMC) formally inaugurated the P14-billion South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) Elevated Extension project, signaling the full completion of the much-awaited project that is seen to help solve traffic in Metro Manila amid significant economic growth in the southern cities and provinces.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, together with other top government officials, led the official opening rites for the project together with SMC President and Chief Executive Officer Ramon S. Ang.
The four-kilometer, two-laned southbound alignment of the project was soft-opened to the public in early December, effectively connecting the Skyway in Sucat to SLEX at Susanna Heighs in Muntinlupa–bypassing the Alabang viaduct, while improving direct access to both the Alabang area and the Alabang-Zapote Road.
With this development, Ang said that the company has fully delivered on the 19 lane-kilometer SLEX Elevated Extension project, realizing its goal of providing a long-term solution to worsening traffic on the Skyway, SLEX, and public roads leading to and from them, which used to stretch for many kilometers, due largely to the increase in vehicular volume over the decades, and bottleneck traffic at the Alabang viaduct.
“Since we soft-opened the southbound SLEX Extension last December 10, motorists in the south have seen a major improvement in the traffic situation. It has provided relief to thousands of motorists who go home every day to Muntinlupa, Las Pinas, Cavite, Laguna, and Batangas. With both the southbound and northbound section of the SLEX Extension now fully operational, travel to and from the south is easier and faster than ever,” said Ang.
Together, the northbound and southbound lanes of the SLEX Elevated Extension project can accommodate 200,000 cars per day.
“We thank President Duterte and his Build Build Build team, especially the Department of Public Works and Highways, headed by Sec. Mark Villar who was with us at the start of the project and through most of its construction, as well as Department of Transportation Sec. Art Tugade. They both recognized the importance of this project and gave us all the support we needed from start to end,” he said.
“I’m also very grateful for the help and cooperation of so many other stakeholders, from the local government of Muntinlupa and their traffic department; our private sector stakeholders, especially Filinvest Land, who made possible the required rerouting of traffic, and the utility companies, among others, for their cooperation,” Ang added.
Ang also expressed gratitude to the public, especially motorists from the south, for their patience over the two-year construction of the project, which suffered delays due to pandemic restrictions.
“On behalf of all our Filipino engineers and the workers who made this possible, we thank the public for their patience. With the completion of this project, seamless connectivity between SLEX, the Skyway system, and NLEX is now a reality. With this, we can look forward to faster, more efficient travel, transport of goods, and improved trade throughout our cities and provinces. These will play a significant part in our economic recovery,” Ang said.
He added: “More significantly for commuters and motorists, there will be less stress related to traffic, and more time to spend, not in vehicles, but with family. We will also cut economic losses associated with traffic,” he added.
Following the opening of the southbound lanes in December, SMC Infrastructure also fully reopened the Alabang-Zapote Road Skyway ramp, which had been closed previously to give way to construction activities.
Both northbound and southbound lanes of the Alabang-Zapote Skyway ramp have since been operating 24/7, with adjustable utilization depending on traffic conditions.
Ang also highlighted the role of Filipino engineers, construction workers, and contractors, who all worked to make the project happen, despite setbacks.
Originally, the project was set for completion by December 2020, a little over a year since it began. However, this was pushed back once the COVID-19 pandemic struck the Philippines in March 2020, necessitating quarantine restrictions which slowed work progress.
Nevertheless, SMC Infrastructure utilized all resources available to accelerate construction, prioritizing finishing and opening the northbound lane last April, and shifting focus on completing the southbound lanes.