Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Metro skyway to rise 6-10 storeys high

MNTC President & CEO Rodrigo Franco while describing the Harbor Link elevated road project. Photo by Shane Velasco, PIA

MALOLOS CITY—The truck ban will soon be a thing of the past while Metro Manila’s skyline will be radically altered by 2016.

This developed as the Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC) broke ground yesterday for the P10.5-billion Segment 10 of the Harbor Link road project at the Philippine National Railways compound in Caloocan City.

The ground-breaking came just over a month after the Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. and the Philippine National Construction Corp. signed a joint venture agreement that gave the green light for the multi-billion peso Metro Expresslink project last January 21.

The Harbor Link project is part of the Metro Expressway Link Project that will stretch from the Smart Connect toll plaza along the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) to Karuhatan in Valenzuela City then o C-3 Road in Caloocan City and eventually to Sta. Mesa in Manila near the Polytechnic University of the Philippines campus.

“Trailer trucks hauling products to and from the North Harbor will no longer worry of traffic congestion in Metro Manila once the Harbor link is completed,” said Ramoncito Fernandez, MNTC president and chief operating officer.

He also said that construction of the Harbor Link project will have less impact on traffic situation in western Metro Manila because it will be constructed on top of the old Philippine National Railways (PNR) right of way.
Photo by Shane F. Velasco,PIA
Construction of the 5.6-kilometer four-lane elevated Harbor Link project will start this month and is expected to be completed by the end of 2015. Fernandez said that the elevated road project will radically alter Metro Manila’s skyline because parts of the Harbor Link project will be six to 10 storeys high or at least 60 to 100 feet.

He clarified though that while the whole stretch of the said road project will be elevated, some parts will be lower than six storeys. The same was affirmed by Rodrigo Franco, MNTC president and CEO.

Franco disclosed that Harbor Link will start where the 2.4-kilometer Mindanao Avenue Extension will end in MacArthur Highway at Barangay Karuhatan in Valenzuela City. He said that a ramp will link the 5.6-kilometer Harbor Link and the Mindanao Avenue Extension.

From there, Harbor Link will cross the MacArthur Highway as an elevated road until it reaches the PNR right of way in Francisco Street in Marulas, Valenzuela City. From Marulas, the Harbor Link will be on top of the old PNR right of way.

“It will be a dynamic infrastructure project because parts of the Harbor Link will be on top of the PNR, and part of it will be beside the MacArthur highway,” he said, adding that the road development project will not only improve traffic but is also expected to spur commerce in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

“There will be unhampered transport of goods since there is no truck ban inside the expressways. NLEx Harbor Link as a whole will also promote a more efficient inter- regional movement of people. Dino Balabo

Bulacan lighthouse to fall anytime

Leaning lighthouse of Pugad on the coast of Manila Bay. Photo by Dino Balabo

HAGONOY, Bulacan—For more than eight decades, the concrete lighthouse at the coast of Barangay Pugad here has served as a beacon to fishermen in Manila Bay. But the lighthouse may not reach the century mark as it is now leaning and might fall anytime.

This prodded the provincial government of Bulacan and the Regional Development Council (RDC) of Central Luzon to move vowed to rehabilitate the said light house three years ago.

Edgardo Baltazar, a local fisherman said the light house might not last a year more with the rainy season which usually bring large waves fast approaching. A councilman of the coastal village of Pugad, Baltazar said that the lighthouse which was noticed to have started leaning a month ago is usually hit by waves.

The same was echoed by Ramon Atienza Jr., the village of chief of Pugad who lamented the condition of the light house. Atienza said they requested assistance from the municipal and provincial government for the rehabilitation of the said lighthouse.

But the promised assistance is yet to come. He said that since last year, the solar- powered bulb on top of the light house has stopped functioning, probably due to a damaged battery pack or busted light bulb which are easy to replace. The worst that can happen is for the lighthouse to fall.

Councilman Alfredo Lunes expressed apprehension that the lighthouse would suffer the same fate as the lighthouse located in Barangay San Roque, also in Hagonoy, which fell more than two years ago and its solar powered battery pack cannibalized.

The lighthouse has been photographed by PromdiNews many times in the last three years, especially when its solar powered battery pack was repaired by the Sigla Movement of the Philippines.

On Friday, it was again photographed by PromdiNews and students of the Bulacan State University who joined the “Lakbay Coastal” project organized by the municipal government.

Photos showed that the lighthouse is now slightly leaning and is feared to fall anytime if planned rehabilitation is further delayed.  Dino Balabo