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Pasig River Expressway
Route information
Length19.365 km[1] (12.033 mi)
excluding the 2.70 km (1.68 mi) portion of Skyway Stage 3
Major junctions
West end AH 26 (N120) (Radial Road 10) in Manila[2]
East end E2 (Southeast Metro Manila Expressway) in Taytay, Rizal[3]
Location
CountryPhilippines
MunicipalitiesTaytay
Major citiesManila, Mandaluyong, Makati, Pasig, Taguig
Highway system
  • Roads in the Philippines

The Pasig River Expressway (PAREX) is a proposed elevated expressway in Metro Manila, Philippines that will skirt the banks of the Pasig River and connect the cities of Manila, Mandaluyong, Makati, Pasig, Taguig and the municipality of Taytay. The expressway is being proposed to alleviate east-west traffic congestion in Metro Manila. It is a joint venture between the Philippine National Construction Corporation and the San Miguel Corporation.[4] The project broke ground on September 24, 2021, while construction of the expressway has yet to start pending the approval of its Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC).[5]

Route description

The expressway will start from Radial Road 10 in Manila and will end at Southeast Metro Manila Expressway in the municipality of Taytay. There will be three segments, in addition to utilizing the portion of the Skyway Stage 3 from Plaza Azul (Nagtahan) to San Juan River in Manila.[1][2][4][6]

Segment Coverage Kilometers[7]
Segment 1 Radial Road 10 to Plaza Azul 5.74
MMSS3 Plaza Azul to San Juan River 2.70
Segment 2 San Juan River to C-5 Intersection 7.32
Segment 3 C-5 Intersection to C-6 Intersection 6.30

From Manila at the west, the expressway will run along the southern bank of Pasig River. It would turn to the land in Paco, where it will utilize the right-of-way of Paz Mendoza-Guazon Street and Quirino Avenue before meeting Skyway Stage 3's Nagtahan Exit at Plaza Azul. Its utilization of Skyway's segment starts at Plaza Dilao Exit and ends at the future San Juan Intersection with Skyway Stage 3 above San Juan River. From there, it would resume and cuts through Punta, Santa Ana, Manila before retaking the Pasig River alignment at the southern bank up to the future Southeast Metro Manila Expressway/C-6 in Taytay, Rizal.[8][7]

History

Plans of building an expressway over the Pasig River was revealed as early as 1993, when the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) conducted a study on the proposed urban expressway system in Metro Manila. The proposed expressway over the river was called Expressway Route R-4, referring to the proposed new alignment of Radial Road 4 that would run from the proposed Inner Circumferential Expressway (Circumferential Road 3) in Santa Ana, Manila to Circumferential Road 6 in Taguig.[9]

First proposed circa 2017 as the Manila–Taguig Expressway (MTEX), a project of Citra Group and PT Citra Persada Infrastruktur,[10][11] the expressway is planned as a viaduct over the Pasig River and Laguna de Bay, and a network of bridges similar to the proposed Metro Manila Skybridge. The expressway will have three segments and two- to six-lane viaducts and bridges. The overall length of the expressway will be 19.365 kilometers (12.033 mi).[1] The project has an estimated cost of 95.413 billion and an estimated implementation period of 36 months.[1] The expressway is also said to undertake river dredging and cleanup works on the Pasig River before, during, and after construction.

In September 2021, the San Miguel Corporation has named Filipino green architect Felino "Jun" Palafox as a prospective consultant to introduce "green architectural and urban features" in the Pasig River Expressway system. Initially denying his involvement, Palafox later confirmed his involvement in the project, emphasizing the need for a "missing link for the eastern and western parts of Metro Manila”.[12]

The project's technical aspects and financial aspects were approved by the Toll Regulatory Board on July 14, and a public scoping was held by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) the same day. The project scoping report indicated that 101 representatives were present at the scoping, most of which had raised concerns on the project's environmental impacts and a lack of information on the project's detailed engineering designs. The report stated that each of these concerns were responded to with a promise for a follow-up public scoping to take place in October 2021.[13]

On September 21, 2021, the Supplemental Toll Operations Agreement (STOA) was approved by the government, wherein a formal agreement was signed between the San Miguel Corporation, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Public Works and Highways at a groundbreaking ceremony held on September 24, 2021.[5]

On March 14, 2022, the STOA was approved by the Office of the President.[14] A follow-up project scoping for the project was later held on March 25, 2022.[15]

Construction of the expressway was expected to begin in 2022[16] and was to be complete by 2023, pending the signature of President Bongbong Marcos to start construction.[17] However, as of 2023, construction has not yet begun, pending regulatory requirements.

In December 2023, a column in The Philippine Star stated that Ramon Ang has decided to drop the proposed Pasig River Expressway project due to the criticism it received from the public.[18]

Criticism and concerns

Environmental and mobility concerns

Transport and environmental advocates in April and July 2021 opposed the project, citing environmental concerns that the concrete megastructure would hamper the river's role in controlling floods and contribute to the urban heat island effect, which will worsen the urban heat in Metro Manila.[19][20][21]

Concerns were raised that building the Pasig River Expressway would also introduce air and noise pollution in the area, as well as non-exhaust emissions, such as microplastics from car tires, road dust, and particulate matter that will worsen the pollution in the Pasig River and in the communities around it.[19] Advocates also pointed out that the construction of more new roads would only worsen traffic congestion by attracting more vehicle use, thus decreasing mobility in a phenomenon known as induced demand.[22]

Among the figures that opposed the expressway's construction is Senator Manny Pacquiao, who envisioned to develop the sides of the Pasig River into a tourist spot if elected as President in the 2022 Philippine presidential elections.[23] Labor lawyer Luke Espiritu and environmentalist David D'Angelo, both under the senatorial slate of Partido Lakas ng Masa, have also called for the rejection of the project.[24][25]

Heritage concerns

The Intramuros Administration and heritage advocates also opposed the project, noting that the alignment of the project, particularly Segment 1 from Radial Road 10 to Plaza Azul, would transverse multiple heritage sites and historical buildings such as the Intramuros fortifications, Fort Santiago, the Aduana Building, the Bureau of Immigrations building, the National Press Club building, and the Manila Central Post Office.[26][27] Both parties raised concerns on the proximity of the project to these heritage sites, as advocates noted that the project would not only disrupt the visual integrity of these heritage sites, but also as the vibrations during the construction of the project could also damage the structural integrity of these landmarks.[28]

Issues during public scoping

Mobility advocates have urged the DENR to postpone the second public scoping that was held on March 25, 2022, citing concerns that the first project scoping held last July 14, 2021 was not carried out correctly and should be invalidated, noting several inaccuracies and deficiencies in the project briefing materials. Advocates also noted the absence of key agencies such as the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, the Department of Tourism, the Department of Science and Technology, and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology at the previous public scoping, declaring the need to hold a new public scoping meeting that will include the inputs of the mentioned agencies.[29] In April 2022, the Intramuros Administration has also informed the Environmental Management Bureau under the DENR that it has not been consulted about the project prior to the public hearing.[27]

Discrepancies between the project alignment that was shown during the project scoping and on the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report were also raised, as 20 percent of the total alignment shown during the first project scoping has been modified in the EIA report. Advocates raised that these changes were not properly notified and informed to stakeholders along these areas, noting that the informed consent of these stakeholders are missing from the EIA report.[12]

Environmental impact assessment plagiarism

In April 2022, it was found out that the EIA report for the project contained entire sections that were plagiarized from the environmental impact assessments of the Makati Intra-city Subway in 2019 and a coal-fired power station expansion project in Misamis Oriental in 2017, and the project components section of the Cavite–Laguna Expressway. In response, advocates have petitioned the Environmental Management Bureau to investigate RHR Consulting Services,[30] the company responsible for the preparation of the report, for any findings of misconduct and irregular practice present in the drafting of the EIA report.[27]

Response

The issues with the expressway were responded to by San Miguel Corporation President Ramon Ang, who emphasized the fact that the project would be at no cost to the government, dispelled misinformation suggesting that the expressway would cover the whole Pasig River instead of being built along it, and mentioned parallel plans to rehabilitate the river by widening and dredging the river at certain points. In response to concerns of induced demand, Ang responded that the project would not be exclusive to private car owners as it would also have a bus rapid transit system, bike lanes, and pedestrian infrastructure[31]

Advocates indicated, however, that whether or not the project would be built along or above the river is irrelevant as the project itself would be inviting air pollution into a corridor that previously did not have any.[28] Mobility advocates also questioned Ang's mention of including a bus rapid transit system, bike lanes, and pedestrian infrastructure in response to criticism as these features were not mentioned in detail in the project's EIA report.[28] Environmental architect Paulo Alcazaren also weighed in that the elevated nature of the proposed bus rapid transit system, bike lanes, and pedestrian infrastructure would pose accessibility and connectivity issues.[32]

The project's "unusually fast" approval process was also criticized given the approval of the STOA despite the lack of an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) from the DENR, which is needed before any construction can start.[33] On June 27, 2023, DENR secretary Toni Yulo-Loyzaga stated that the DENR is currently evaluating the community impact of the Pasig River Expressway project and stated that there is still no timeframe on the issuance of an ECC for the project.[34]

Green architect Jun Palafox, who initially denied involvement with the project in September 2021, has since been onboarded with the project, committing to develop it according to "his own vision of Pasig River development". Palafox has also responded to criticism, as he denied that the expressway would only cause additional congestion if built, believing that there is an "unmet demand" for an east-west transportation corridor.[12] Palafox's involvement with the project has also been seen as a complete reversal of his long-standing principles for revitalizing decades of urban decay in Metro Manila with sustainable practices.[35][36]

Exits

Exits and intersections will be numbered by kilometer posts and station, starting from the R-10 intersection designated as Kilometer 0. However, station markers of Segment 2 from San Juan to C-5 Intersection apparently designates Rizal Park as Kilometer 0.[8] 

RegionProvinceCity/Municipalitykm[7]miExitNameDestinationsNotes
Metro ManilaManila0.0000.000R-10 AH 26 (N120) (Mel Lopez Boulevard)T-interchange; western terminus and start of Segment 1
U-Belt N180 (Circumferential Road 1)Half diamond interchange; westbound-only entrance and exit
5.7403.567Plaza AzulSkywayY-interchange with Metro Manila Skyway; end of Segment 1
Metro Manila Skyway alignment from Plaza Dilao to San Juan River
5.360–
8.440
3.331–
5.244
San Juan N141 (Tomas Claudio Street) / SkywayY-interchange with Metro Manila Skyway; start of Segment 2
MakatiMakatiF. Zobel StreetEastbound-only entrance
MandaluyongMandaluyongCoronado Street / Makati–Mandaluyong BridgeWestbound-only entrance
MakatiRockwellJ.P. Rizal AvenueHalf diamond interchange; westbound-only entrance and eastbound-only exit
MakatiPasig boundary11.3107.028BGCLawton Avenue / J.P. Rizal Avenue – BGCHalf diamond interchange; eastbound-only exit and westbound-only entrance
15.7659.796C-5 E2 (Southeast Metro Manila Expressway)Eastbound-only half diamond interchange with elevated u-turn slots; end of Segment 2 and start of Segment 3;
CalabarzonRizalTaytay22.06513.711SEMME (C-6) E2 (Southeast Metro Manila Expressway)Y-interchange with the Southeast Metro Manila Expressway; end of Segment 3; eastern terminus
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
  •       Unopened

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d "TRB Declares South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) Toll Road 5 And Pasig River Expressway Projects As Toll Road Projects". DOTr. August 5, 2020. Archived from the original on June 18, 2021. Retrieved August 28, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "SMC LINES UP NEXT GAME-CHANGERS: SLEX TR5, PASIG RIVER EXPRESSWAY". San Miguel Corporation. August 25, 2020. Retrieved August 28, 2020.
  3. ^ Cordero, Ted (August 25, 2020). "San Miguel investing P122B for SLEX Toll Road 5, Pasig River Expressway projects". GMA News. Retrieved August 28, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Pasig River Expressway (PAREX) Project". Department of Public Works and Highways. Retrieved February 14, 2021.
  5. ^ a b Grecia, Leandre (September 24, 2021). "SMC, DOTr, DPWH break ground for Pasig River Expressway". Top Gear Philippines. Retrieved September 24, 2021.
  6. ^ Rodriguez, Mia (August 26, 2020). "In the Works: A Six-Lane Elevated Expressway Crossing the "Entirety" of Pasig River". Spot.ph.
  7. ^ a b c SMC Infrastructure (September 6, 2022). Environmental Impact Assessment - Pasig River Expressway Project (PDF). Environmental Management Bureau.
  8. ^ a b SMC Infrastructure (July 14, 2022). Project Description for Scoping - Pasig River Expressway Project (PDF). Environmental Management Bureau.
  9. ^ Katahira & Engineers International (October 29, 1993). "Metro Manila Urban Expressway System Study" (PDF). Japan International Cooperation Agency. Retrieved July 3, 2023.
  10. ^ "Manila-Taguig expressway under evaluation by DPWH". AutoIndustriya. February 6, 2017. Retrieved October 13, 2021.
  11. ^ Camus, Miguel (February 2, 2017). "P100-B tollroad projects proposed". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved October 13, 2021.
  12. ^ a b c "Months after denial, Palafox onboarded for San Miguel's PAREX". RAPPLER. March 26, 2022. Retrieved March 27, 2022.
  13. ^ "Mobility advocates question 'unusually fast' gov't approval of PAREX". Rappler. Retrieved October 8, 2021.
  14. ^ Carullo, Alvin (April 25, 2022). "Pasig River Expressway (PAREX): Status of STOA Approval". Letter to Robert Siy Jr. Toll Regulatory Board. Retrieved May 1, 2022.
  15. ^ "NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING" (PDF). March 4, 2022.
  16. ^ "SMC breaks ground for ₱95B Pasig River Expressway project". CNN Philippines. September 24, 2021. Archived from the original on September 24, 2021. Retrieved September 24, 2021.
  17. ^ "After Skyway 3, San Miguel aims to start work on Pasig River Expressway in Feb". ABS-CBN News. January 14, 2021.
  18. ^ Chanco, Boo (December 11, 2023). "From Tondo boy to Forbes philanthropist". The Philippine Star. Retrieved December 30, 2023. But RSA [Ramon S. Ang] expressed irritation at criticisms of his projects. So, he is dropping the Pasig River Expressway proposal. He said he only wanted to help make commuting from the eastern part of Metro Manila to the western part easier.
  19. ^ a b "PAREX would bring more heat, more flooding in NCR, various groups warn". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved March 24, 2022.
  20. ^ Madarang, Catalina S. (April 23, 2021). "Critics of Pasig River expressway project ask gov't to prioritize people over cars". InterAksyon. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
  21. ^ Cabico, Gaea Katreena (July 19, 2021). "Planned Pasig River expressway may just make traffic, pollution worse — groups". The Philippine Star. Retrieved September 24, 2021.
  22. ^ Siy, Robert (April 17, 2021). "Do we really need a Pasig River expressway?". The Manila Times. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  23. ^ Galvez, Daphne (April 1, 2022). "Pacquiao thumbs down Pasig River Expressway, wants to turn it into a tourism site instead". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved April 1, 2022.
  24. ^ "It is time for the Philippines to abandon profit-driven and debt-driven infrastructure, and prioritize the needs of people and the planet in our blueprint for economic development. We must reject the Pasig River Expressway project". Twitter. Retrieved April 5, 2022.
  25. ^ "This coming March 25, there will be a public hearing regarding the SMC's Pasig River Expressway (PAREX), and on behalf of GPP Kalikasan Muna - Green Party of the Philippines, I am against this elephant project". Twitter. Retrieved April 5, 2022.
  26. ^ "'A problem, not a solution': Groups slam proposed Pasig River expressway". Rappler. Retrieved October 8, 2021.
  27. ^ a b c Piad, Tyrone Jasper C. (April 5, 2022). "PAREx environmental study suspected to have been copied". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved April 5, 2022.
  28. ^ a b c De La Cruz, Christa I. (October 1, 2021). "Here's Why PAREX Might Be a Bad Idea, According to an Urban Planner". SPOT.PH. Retrieved October 8, 2021.
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  30. ^ "RHR CONSULT SERVICES, INC. - Environmental Impact Assessment and Management Division". Retrieved April 5, 2022.
  31. ^ Cordero, Ted (September 24, 2021). "Ramon Ang addresses criticisms vs. Pasig River Expressway project". GMA News. Retrieved September 24, 2021.
  32. ^ Bagsit, Jezzah Mae; Medalla, Tia Mozelle (November 14, 2021). "Cars, buses, and PAREX: Solving Metro Manila traffic woes". The LaSallian. Retrieved October 13, 2021.
  33. ^ Camus, Miguel R. (September 29, 2021). "Ramon Ang responds to firestorm of criticism over planned Pasig River Expressway". INQUIRER.net. Retrieved October 8, 2021.
  34. ^ Bajo, Anna Felicia (June 27, 2023). "DENR evaluating impact of PAREX". GMA Integrated News and Public Affairs. Retrieved July 31, 2023.
  35. ^ "Take a look at a few of our "Postcards from the Future" for waterfronts". Facebook. Retrieved March 27, 2022.
  36. ^ Jose, F. Sionil. "Felino A. Palafox Jr.: Visionary architect". Philstar.com. Retrieved March 27, 2022.