Bridge tunnel seen to solve Manila traffic

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Former Bataan 1st District Rep. Felicito “Tong” Payumo, during a guesting in CLTV 36’s ‘So to Speak’ said a bridge tunnel, like what they did in Japan, may solve the traffic in Metro Manila.

Payumo said there is only one arterial road that connects Southern Luzon to Central and Northern Luzon, and that is EDSA.

The tunnel, he said, will provide an alternative route in Manila Bay via Cavite-Corregidor-Bataan.

“At present there are already 2.5 million motor vehicles in Metro Manila, and if you add the 30 percent more which pass through traffic from Southern Luzon to Central/Northern Luzon and vice versa, then you know why there is a daily traffic gridlock in Metro Manila,” Payumo stressed.

He added that the bridges can span the shorter distances from Mariveles to Corregidor and the small isles, but a tunnel can be built under the southern channel to Cavite where ships pass.

Payumo further reiterated that this completes the Manila Bay loop together with the component segments of Roman Highway, Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx), North Luzon Expressway, Skyway Connector, South Luzon Expressway and the Cavite Expressway (CAVITEx).

Payumo was one of the brains behind the then “ambitious” SCTEX project.

“(This will be) our first ring, while Tokyo and other US cities have a more efficient traffic system of rings and radials,” he said.

The former Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) chairman also said that there is no reason why it cannot be afforded by the government through public private partnerships and other investment options.
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Payumo, who was also the chairman and administrator of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, said the traffic mess in Metro Manila already costs us P3 billion a day, according to the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

“But this was some years ago. May be closer to P4 billion a day now. And the cost of tunneling has gone down with the number of idle tunneling machines. Or fabricate binocular pipes on land and sit them on the sea bed trench. Like what they did for the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) in San Francisco and Oakland,” he added.

The project will not only declog the EDSA traffic but willmake travelbetween Batangas/Cavite and Bataan/Central Luzon faster and predictable, he said.

“A predictable one hour between Cavite and Clark, Pampanga will push development of Ecozones for both export and domestic industries outside of Metro Manila as President Rody Duterte wants,” Payumo explained.

Payumo also cited other countries’ efforts doing this bridge-tunnels like the English Tunnel connecting England and France, in Scandinavia, the Bosphorus connecting Europe and Asia, Korea, Hong Kong-Kowloon and Hong Kong-Macau.

“If they can connect countries or continents why can’t we connect two provinces?,” Payumo concluded. –Mhike Cigaral