Commuters and motorists may have to resort to alternative routes as the Department of Public Works and Highways prepares to rehabilitate the 23-kilometer Epifanio De Los Santos Avenue, the longest thoroughfare in Metro Manila.
"As soon as we get the approval we start... the budget is there and we only have this whole year to obligate that amount," Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson told GMA News' Howie Severino on News to Go on Thursday.
"Ang mga sirang concrete pavement papalitan. Aayusin yung mga curbs and gutters, aayusin yung drainage. We will do an asphalt overlay para kuminis yung riding surface," Singson said. The rehabilitation project will take 12 months, and will include overpasses, bridges and tunnels that are along EDSA, according to Singson.
To minimize inconvenience, work will begin on the inner lane, according to Danilo Idos, director of the DPWH - Urban Road Project Office - Project Management Office.
"'Yung northbound at southbound, tig 5 lanes 'yan eh. So inner lane muna kami, isang lane, ang inaallot sa amin, 150 meters muna," Idos said in an Unang Balita report also on Thursday.
Used by over 300,000 vehicles daily, EDSA is already prone to heavy traffic, especially when parts are closed due to concrete reblocking and road repair.
The rehabilitation will affect the whole of EDSA, from Roxas Boulevard in Pasay City to Monumento in Quezon City.
"There are three segments. The total length of EDSA is 23 km, we divided that into three sections," Singson said, adding that three different contractors will work on the project. The first section is nine kilometers from Roxas Boulevard to Julia Vargas, the second is nine kilometers from Julia Vargas to North Avenue, and the third is five kilometers from North Avenue to Monumento.
According to Singson, the rehabilitation will be done simultaneously in order to lessen the inconvenience to the public. "Kung hindi namin isasabay yun eh di mas matagal yung perwisyong aabutin ng publiko," said Singson, who stressed that EDSA would not be closed. "I will continue to explain this kasi may mga nagsasabi na isasara namin yung EDSA. Hindi namin isasara we will work on it lane by lane," he said.
Meanwhile, Metro Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino said the project would also need approval from Metro Manila mayors. "Before we can reach that stage, kailangan natin ilatag yung alternatibong traffic management plan," Tolentino said in the Unang Balita report.
While motorists agreed there is a need to improve EDSA, they were concerned about the heavy traffic that will be caused by the rehabilitation project.
"Palundag lundag kaunti. Siyempre maraming nasisira sa sasakyan," a driver said in the report when asked if he thought the rehabilitation project was needed.
"Malaking problema kasi ngayon pa nga lang traffic na. Para rin siguro sa ikagaganda ng EDSA. Sana bago nila gawin, magkaroon muna ng alternate route para hindi masyado ma traffic," another driver said in the report. — Carmela G. Lapeña, GMA News