San Miguel Corporation (SMC) president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang said traffic on the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) is expected to ease with the Dec. 1 re-opening of the third lane of the Skyway at-grade level, and the opening of a new, two-lane ramp connecting the Alabang viaduct to the elevated Skyway.
“These enhancements will ensure that there will be five lanes available to northbound SLEX vehicles during rush hours, even as we go full blast with the construction of the Skyway Extension project. Motorists will be able to use the original three lanes at the at-grade section, plus 2 more lanes at the elevated section,” Ang said.
This is a considerable improvement from previous conditions, wherein five lanes on the SLEX would narrow to just three at the Alabang viaduct.
· To make this possible, Skyway reconfigured and maximized the first section of the elevated Skyway coming from the Alabang-Zapote road to three lanes, from the original two.
· With the new ramp connecting to the elevated section, northbound traffic from SLEX can be accommodated without significantly impacting traffic coming from the Alabang-Zapote road.
· The original design for the Alabang-Zapote road Skyway ramp, built by the previous concessionaire, is one lane northbound and one lane southbound. At certain times in the morning, when traffic is heaviest, both lanes are used for northbound traffic.
· The advantage of the new three-lane configuration at the start of the elevated portion is that lane assignments can be easily adjusted depending on traffic volume.
· As such, even with the new ramp, motorists coming from the Alabang-Zapote road will retain the use of one to two lanes, depending on traffic volume.
· At night, when southbound traffic is heavier, more or all lanes—including the two lanes on the new ramp–can be assigned for southbound use.
These measures are part of preparations for the construction of the Skyway Extension, a PHP10 billion SMC initiative to extend Skyway from Alabang to SLEX near Susana Heights and the Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway (MCX).
Set for completion by December next year, it will add three northbound lanes and two southbound lanes on either side of the existing SLEX. It will allow both northbound and southbound motorists to bypass the Alabang viaduct.
With the Dec. 1 openings on track, SMC is delivering on a promise to reopen the third-lane of the at-grade Skyway before the Holiday rush and improve Alabang traffic by adding new lanes.
“We hope that our valued motorists will find these immediate measures satisfactory. Even as we start construction on the Skyway Extension–which is meant to be the long-term solution to traffic on the SLEX–we’ve already increased the number of usable lanes to help mitigate and improve traffic,” Ang said.
“But as with anything new, we expect a period of adjustment for motorists. This may still cause some congestion in the beginning, especially with the sheer volume of vehicles on the SLEX every day. But we expect the traffic situation to improve quickly once we open,” Ang added.
As part of continuing efforts to manage traffic, Ang said that SMC’s tollway unit is mobilizing all traffic personnel to ensure efficient flow of traffic. They are also increasing the number of signs and providing advisories to motorists.
“We’ve also instructed our teams on the ground to constantly communicate with the different communities and villages for traffic matters. In the meantime, we continue to appeal for patience and understanding, as we work on providing a long-term solution to traffic in south Metro Manila.” Ang said.
Top photo: EASING SLEX TRAFFIC. SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang inspects work on the Skyway Extension project at the Alabang viaduct. The company is set to reopen the third lane of the at-grade Skyway–which it closed for construction in late September–as well as the new two-lane ramp on December 1. With this, northbound vehicles will have five lanes coming from the Alabang viaduct, compared to just three lanes, prior to construction. (Photo courtesy of SMC)