Sucat interchange rehab still on hold

The repair and rehabilitation of the Sucat Interchange Bridge is still on hold. Despite the presentation of a detailed traffic management plan for the rehabilitation of the Sucat Interchange Bridge, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority has not given the Department of Public Works and Highways clearance to proceed with the project, saying that the department should first secure permission from the local government units and the people who would be adversely affected.

In a meeting on Monday, DPWH project engineer Isabelo Baleros stressed the urgency of the repair and rehabilitation of the almost 40-year-old bridge over the South Luzon Expressway as the structure cannot take the high volume of vehicles passing through it for much longer.

“The bridge has not been upgraded since the 1970s. It needs to be strengthened and retrofitted to lengthen its service life,” Baleros said, noting that the project would increase carrying capacity of the bridge. The DPWH plans to close three of the five eastbound lanes of the bridge for 45 days to allow the retrofitting. The agency claimed it has already made minor repairs since April.

For the traffic plan during the road closure, Baleros said that the DPWH aims to divert 20 to 40 percent of the traffic to adjacent roads.

“Motorists can use Doña Soledad Avenue, head to France Street then to Japan Street and all the way to San Antonio Avenue to reach Bicutan,” he said, referring to an avenue that runs from the eastern edge of Moonwalk Subdivision, through Better Living and onto the Biculan Interchange. The route is notorious for heavy traffic even on ordinary days.

Baleros said private cars may also use the Skyway as an alternate route while the road repair is ongoing.

The Sucat Interchange rehabilitation project was supposed to have been carried out last August but the MMDA suspended it indefinitely because of the lack of a traffic management plan and coordination with the agency.

MMDA Traffic Engineering head Neomie Recio said that the agency wanted to be assured that the repair will not create vehicle jams along Sucat Road, also called Dr. A. Santos Avenue, along the West Service Road going to C6 and along Parañaque going to the east.

Parañaque Mayor Edwin Olivarez said earlier the postponement of the repair would give the city government enough time to prepare contingency measures and alternative routes to mitigate the effects of the bridge repair on their constituents and motorists.

“Even without the interchange bridge repair, traffic is already too heavy on Dr. A. Santos Avenue and other major thoroughfares in the city,” Olivarez said, noting the local government was considering a modification of the truck ban in the area during the repair.

On Monday, Recio reiterated that the MMDA could not give its clearance to the project without approval from the mayors of Muntinlupa and Parañaque since these two will be the most affected by the repair work.

The traffic engineering head also suggested to Baleros to conduct dialogues with other stakeholders like subdivision and village owners for them to approve the suggested alternate routes, which entail going through private enclaves.

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