April 22, 2016
MANILA, Philippines – After a long wait, the Metro Rail Transit Line 7 (MRT-7) is finally on the brink of construction.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the MRT-7 project was held on Wednesday at the Quezon Memorial Circle (QMC) in Quezon City.
President Aquino attended the groundbreaking ceremony together with Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista and Ramon Ang, president of San Miguel Corporation, the parent company of contractor Universal LRT Corporation that would build the MRT-7.
Abaya said the P69.3 billion project includes the development of a 23-kilometer railway system with 14 stations from North Avenue in Quezon City to San Jose del Monte in Bulacan.
“The long-awaited MRT-7 will serve commuters who ply the heavily congested Commonwealth Avenue area for work and school on a daily basis,” the DOTC chief said.
“The new railway system will not only significantly lessen travel time along this corridor, but also help decongest traffic in Caloocan and NLEX (North Luzon Expressway),” he added.
Abaya said the MRT-7 will shorten travel time from the current 3.5 hours on the road to one hour.
He noted that the new railway system is expected to initially accommodate 350,000 daily passengers.
But once further upgrades are made, he said around 800,000 passengers per day will benefit from the project.
Abaya said the MRT-7, which will connect Bulacan to the MRT-3 and the LRT-1, is set to be completed and operational by April 2020.
The MRT-7 project is part of an integrated transportation system that includes a 22-kilometer road from the NLEX-Bocaue Interchange and an intermodal transport terminal (ITT) in San Jose Del Monte.
Abaya said commuters can take public utility vehicles or private cars and use the new highway from NLEX, alight at the ITT, and board the MRT-7 going to North Avenue.
For his part, Bautista said the MRT-7 project will significantly boost the city’s economy, especially in the areas of trade and commerce and real estate.
With 12 of the 14 stations located in Quezon City, the mayor said the project would expand the city’s prospects for growth especially along its stations in Tandang Sora, Don Antonio, Batasan, Manggahan, Doña Carmen, Mindano Avenue, Regalado Avenue, Quirino and Sacred Heart.
“This project is very important to Quezon City since it will enable us to spread our developments more easily through its path, with the 12 stations in our city becoming re-energized as centers of mixed used developments,” Bautista said.
The Mayor noted that he also considered the project as vital in providing the city a convenient link to Central Luzon as the project also has a road component.
He said it will enable the city to strengthen its partnership with local officials of San Jose del Monte for new community development, especially in the area of developing low-cost housing sites for the city’s underprivileged residents.
He added that the MRT-7 project is also expected to transform the QMC as a premier tourist destination. – EAN