A railway extension project that will connect Baclaran, Paranaque City and Bacoor, Cavite is expected to break ground within the first quarter of the year, said the Light Rail Manila Corporation which operates the Light Rail Transit Line 1.
“We will break ground in late February or early March. Under the contract, you can only issue notice to proceed once the right of way is totally cleared of informal settlers, utilities… I said I don’t need notice to proceed, I just need permit to enter,” LRMC President and Chief Executive Officer Rogelio L. Singson told reporters during the launching of the new Doroteo Jose Station.
“With permit to enter, I can start fencing, clearing, and a lot of engineering works, buying us a year or more,” said Mr. Singson, who served as Public Works and Highways secretary during the Aquino administration.
The consortium of Ayala Corp., Metro Pacific Light Rail Corp., and Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings (Philippines) Pte. Ltd., was awarded the P64.9 billion LRT-1 Cavite Extension in September 2015. The public-private partnership project involves rehabilitation of the existing 21-kilometer line and an 11.7-kilometer extension from Baclaran to Bacoor.
Originally slated to start in late 2015, the construction of the project was hampered by right-of-way issues. However, the project is expected to be completed in about four years as initially projected. The project has commissioned the services of French companies Bouygues Travaux Publics and Alstom Transport Private Limited.
The extension line will feature eight new stations: Aseana, MIA, Asia World, Ninoy Aquino, Dr. Santos, Las Piñas, Zapote and Niog.
In addition to the construction of the extension, rehabilitation of existing LRT-1 rails is also underway. LRMC reports that the replacement of LRT-1 rails is 40% complete and will be completed within the year. It involves 21 kilometers of tracks on the northbound route and five kilometers on the southbound route. The impact of this rehabilitation will increase rail vehicles’ maximum speed from 40 kilometers per hour to 60 kilometers per hour, and is expected to increase the lifespan of trains, significantly improving the efficiency of the whole railway system.
LRMC on Monday unveiled the newly-upgraded Doroteo Jose Station on LRT-1 line. It expects the station, whose refurbishment began in December 2015, will serve an average of 27,000 passengers daily.
“Doroteo Jose is just the beginning. We are now working on the rest of the project’s phases and, with the support of our commercial partners, we are hoping to see more enhancements at the other stations by the end of this year,” Mr. Singson said.
Upcoming phases of the refurbishment will cover United Nations, Gil Puyat, Abad Santos, Pedro Gil, and R. Papa stations.