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By Inquirer Research, INQ_Property

Key infrastructure projects have attracted private sector investments especially in areas outside urban centers. Here are 36 road, railway, and airport projects that were aimed at spurring development and boosting economic growth across the country. 

1  MRT common station

According to the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the common station project that will link major railway systems in Metro Manila is targeted for completion  this month. 

This project located near the corner of Edsa and North Avenue in Quezon City was designed to be a common hub for the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3, Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1, the eventual MRT 7 and Metro Manila subway lines. 

These railway systems serve various points in Metro Manila as well as the provinces of Cavite and Bulacan. 

The common station will have a 13,700-sqm concourse area where passengers can transfer between railway systems. Once operational, the station is expected to serve about 478,000 passengers daily.

2  MRT 7

The DOTr has projected the MRT 7 to be operational by April 2022. The MRT 7 is a P63-billion project that started construction in April 2016. It will run from North Avenue in Quezon City to San Jose del Monte in Bulacan, and is expected to help reduce travel time from Quezon City to Bulacan to just 35 minutes. 

The MRT 7 will have 14 stations located in Quezon North Avenue Joint Station, Quezon Memorial Circle, University Avenue, Tandang Sora, Don Antonio, Batasan, Manggahan, Doña Carmen, Regalado, Mindanao Avenue, Quirino, Sacred Heart, Tala, and San Jose del Monte. It will also connect to the DOTr’s common station project in Quezon City.

3  LRT 2 extension

On July 1, the DOTr and the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) inaugurated the LRT 2 East Extension Project—a railway line started six years ago that saw two groundbreaking events under different administrations. Operations started on July 5, 2021.

The project extends the 13.8-kilometer LRT 2 line that runs from Recto in Manila, to Santolan in Pasig City by another 4 kilometers to Masinag in Antipolo City, Rizal province. It will have two new stations: the Marikina Station and the Antipolo Station.

The LRT 2 East Extension aims to cut travel time between Manila and Antipolo from the previous three hours by bus or jeepney to 40 minutes. It was also designed to increase the capacity of the LRT 2 by another 80,000 passengers per day. 

The railway line, one of three elevated trains in Metro Manila, handled around 240,000 passengers per day before the pandemic.

4  LRT 1 Cavite extension

The LRT 1 extension to Cavite province is more than halfway finished and is expected to partially operate by the end of 2021, according to the DOTr. As of August 2021, it was already 58.03-percent complete after the girder was installed along the Manila-Cavite Expressway (Cavitex).

The 20.7-kilometer LRT 1 stretches from Roosevelt Station in Quezon City to the Baclaran Station in Pasay City. The project will extend the railway line by 11.7 kilometers to Niog, Bacoor, in Cavite. 

Once finished, the line will cut travel time from Baclaran to Bacoor from over an hour by car to 25 minutes. The expanded railway system is expected to serve some 500,000 to 800,000 passengers per day. 

The DOTr said in October that it expects 120 light rail vehicles or 30 train sets from Spain and Mexico, which are scheduled for delivery until June 2022. They will be used for the existing system and the LRT 1 Cavite extension.

5  Metro Manila subway

As of August 2021, the massive Metro Manila Subway Project was already at 26-percent completion, according to the DOTr. It will be fully operational by the third quarter of 2027, while the target for partial operability in the first quarter of 2022 remains unchanged.

Funded by loans from the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the P357-billion Metro Manila subway is among the Duterte administration’s largest projects under its “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program. The railway line will span a total of 36 kilometers and link key areas within the capital district starting from Valenzuela City north of Manila to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) Terminal 3 in the south.

The Metro Manila subway, which was designed to carry an initial 370,000 passengers per day, will have a total of 17 stations connecting the cities of Pasig, Makati, Taguig, Parañaque, Pasay, and Quezon. 

Once finished, it will cut travel time from Quezon City to Naia from over an hour to 35 minutes. The DOTr previously said that the Metro Manila subway would be physically connected to its North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) project, a 148-kilometer line running from Clark, Pampanga, to Calamba, Laguna province.

6  North-South Commuter  Railway

The 147-kilometer NSCR project has two phases. The Philippine National Railways (PNR) Clark Phase 1 runs from Caloocan City to Bulacan, and is targeting to serve 300,000 passengers daily. The second phase extends to the Clark International Airport in Clark Freeport.

The NSCR is projected to shorten travel time from Manila to Bulacan from 1.5 hours to 35 minutes, and will make the Clark International Airport more accessible. The PNR Clark Phase 2 will have 35 stations, and will operate 464 train cars, with 58 eight-car train sets configuration.

As of July 2021, the PNR Clark Phase 2 recorded an overall progress rate of 32 percent, while PNR Clark Phase 1 (Tutuban to Malolos segment), is now 48-percent complete. The PNR Clark project features the country’s first-ever airport railway express service, which is expected to unlock the economic growth and employment potentials of Central Luzon, especially Bulacan and Pampanga.

7 TPLEx

The 88.85-kilometer Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx) shortens travel time from Manila to the northern parts of the country and allows more access to towns in Northern Luzon, resulting in a positive impact on tourism and regional economic growth. Travel time from Tarlac City to Pozorrubio in Pangasinan province, for instance, was drastically cut to 45 minutes, from the previous 2 hours and 30 minutes.

In July 2020, the last phase of TPLEx, an 11.45-kilometer road stretch from Pozorrubio, Pangasinan, to Rosario, La Union province, was opened. According to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the final segment of the P24-billion four-lane TPLEx would save motorists as much as three hours of travel time between Manila and Baguio City.

The entire TPLEx has nine exits: La Paz in Tarlac City; Victoria, Gerona, Paniqui, and Moncada in Tarlac province; Rosales, Urdaneta City, and Pozorrubio in Pangasinan; and Rosario in La Union. The road project involved the private sector in its design, financing, construction, operation, and maintenance. The toll road is connected to the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) and the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx), which extends to Metro Manila. 

8 Naia Expressway

The 7.7-kilometer Ninoy Aquino International Airport Expressway (NaiaEx) project was inaugurated and officially opened in June 2017. It is a four-lane road developed around Metro Manila’s existing network of expressways. It will link Naia Terminals 1, 2, and 3 to the Skyway in the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx), the Cavitex, and the Entertainment City casino complex in Parañaque City.

NaiaEx serves an estimated 80,000 motorists per day, while providing access to all Naia terminals from the Skyway, the Cavitex, and other major roads with its 16 off- and on-ramps built along strategic locations at Villamor Air Base, Resorts World, Terminal 3, MIAA Road, Imelda Avenue, Cavitex, Seaside Drive and Macapagal Boulevard.

9 Skyway Stage 3

In December 2020, the 18-kilometer Skyway Stage 3 elevated expressway from Makati City to Quezon City in Metro Manila officially opened. Initially, four lanes were opened, but all seven lanes became usable by January 2021.

The Skyway system—including Skyway 1 and 2—is a 38-kilometer elevated expressway with 36 on- and off-ramp access points that San Miguel Corp. (SMC) projected will greatly improve accessibility, transportation, and traffic conditions throughout Metro Manila.

The Skyway Stage 3 connects the NLEx and SLEx, slashing travel time between Balintawak in Quezon City and Magallanes in Makati City to as little as 15 minutes from over two hours. The toll road is expected to decongest highways such as Edsa and C5. 

10 NLEx

Major infrastructure projects like the expansion of the NLEx are seen to boost demand for real estate developments in surrounding areas. Connecting Metro Manila to Central Luzon provinces, NLEx has driven the value of properties in the region as well as the other areas it traverses. 

With the expanded NLEx Harbor Link’s opening last year, accessibility has expanded to the Camanava (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, and Valenzuela) area and will eventually extend to the Mel Lopez Boulevard in Manila. The new elevated NLEx section features the Caloocan Interchange, Malabon Exit, and Navotas Interchange. It aims to ease traffic congestion in the metro and in other major thoroughfares. 

11 SLEx

Another major thoroughfare that has brought investors to surrounding developments is the SLEx, which connects Metro Manila to the thriving Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon) region. The expressway runs from Alabang in southern Metro Manila to Santo Tomas, Batangas. 

The toll road project, which will extend SLEx to Lucena, Quezon, and will cut the usual three-hour trip between Batangas and Quezon to around 45 minutes, is set to open in 2022. It is expected to improve local tourism and bring in business in the area. 

12 SCTEx

Known as the country’s longest expressway, the 94-kilometer SCTEx serves as an important link among Central Luzon’s business hubs, helping the region become a major economic player in Luzon. Connected to NLEx, it reduces travel time from Clark to Subic to 40 minutes and Clark to Tarlac to 25 minutes. 

With more development in the area, residents and businessmen alike can have better opportunities in investment, trade, and employment. SCTEx seeks to transform Central Luzon into a world-class logistics hub in the Asia-Pacific region through the integration of economic activities.

13 Cavitex

The Cavitex is another major thoroughfare that provides easier access to southern Luzon, specifically the province of Cavite. It supports the thriving province, attracting many businesses, investors, and even home buyers.

Expansion projects involving the 14-kilometer Cavitex are set to be completed in 2022. Besides creating employment, its construction is expected to improve the mobility of essential goods and services, stimulate interregional development, and reduce traffic congestion.

14 Calax

One of the fastest-growing regions in the country in terms of economy, Southern Tagalog has become even more accessible with the construction of the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (Calax). The 45-kilometer expressway, which improves road access in provinces south of Metro Manila, is seen to further unlock industrial and residential values in Laguna and nearby provinces. 

Calax also helps ease the traffic congestion in major road networks due to the industrial and commercial boom in the area. It provides a faster, safer, and reliable route between Cavite, Laguna, and SLEx areas, enhancing trade and socioeconomic activities in the region. 

15. STAR Tollway

The Southern Tagalog Arterial Road, commonly known as STAR Tollway, makes travelling within Batangas easier as it connects major cities and municipalities in the province. The existing thoroughfare plays an important role as traffic demand increases in Batangas, a bustling industrial hub as well as home to many natural wonders that continue to drive tourism.  

While Batangas is rich in historical and natural tourist attractions, it is still in an accessible area in the outskirts of Metro Manila. With the combination of abundant culture and a major infrastructure bringing in business, the province has become an even more appealing destination and a good location to settle down in. 

16. Central Luzon Link Expressway

The first 18 kilometers of the 30-kilometer Central Luzon Link Expressway (CLLEx) opened in July after delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Phase 1 of CLLEx runs from the SCTEx/TPLEx connection in Tarlac City, to the intersection of Aliaga-Guimba Road in Aliaga, Nueva Ecija province.

Once completed, the four-lane expressway will not only connect Tarlac City and Cabanatuan City but also improve access to several localities in Tarlac and Nueva Ecija, making them viable locations for home buyers. The usual 70-minute travel time between the two major cities in Central Luzon will be reduced to 20 minutes. 

17. Taytay-El Nido Road

The Taytay-El Nido Road was among the 9,845 kilometers of roads completed earlier in 2019 under the government’s Build, Build, Build program, according to the DPWH. The 44.6-kilometer road, which began construction in 2015, has helped boost tourism in the province of Palawan by giving better access to and from the municipalities of Taytay and El Nido.

18. Davao City bypass construction

Currently under construction, the 44.6-kilometer Davao City Bypass Construction project is expected to ease traffic congestion in Davao City, with the travel time of 1 hour and 44 minutes via Pan-Philippine Highway Diversion Road expected to be reduced to 49 minutes.

The road starts from the Davao-Digos section of the Pan-Philippine Highway in Davao City and stretches to the Davao-Panabo section of the highway in Panabo City. Upon its completion, the bypass road will support economic activities, particularly the manufacturing and agribusiness sector, by providing easier access to ports.

19. Iloilo Barotac Nuevo bypass

Completed in August this year, this four-lane 1.75-kilometer bypass road in Barotac Nuevo town in Iloilo province was designed to shorten travel time for about 2,500 motorists daily from Iloilo City to various areas in the northern part of the province and in neighboring provinces of Capiz and Aklan.

Considered one of three “high-impact” bypass roads implemented by the DPWH in northern Iloilo province, the P136.3-million Barotac Nuevo bypass road is seen to attract local investors and improve the economic situation in the area.

20. Metro Cebu expressway

The arterial toll road aims to decongest Metro Cebu as traffic demand rises in the central, coastal, southern, and northern urban districts. The 56.9-kilometer expressway is divided into three segments: from Minglanilla to Cebu City and on to Mandaue City, from Consolacion to Danao City, and from Naga City to Minglanilla.

The construction of the third segment from Naga to Minglanilla is underway with about 79-percent completion, according to the DPWH website. Meanwhile, preparations for a full feasibility study and project evaluation are also being done. 

21. BGC-Ortigas link/bridge

The recently opened P1.6-billion road linking the Ortigas Business Center in Pasig City and the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) commercial district in Taguig City aims to cut travel time from one hour to just about five minutes. An alternate corridor, it is designed to decongest traffic on Edsa by 20 percent and on C5 Road by 10 percent. 

The 961.4-lineal-meter road project involved the construction of a four-lane bridge across the Pasig River connecting Lawton Avenue in Makati and Sta. Monica Street in Pasig, and a viaduct structure traversing Lawton onward to the entrance of BGC.

22. Camalaniugan Bridge

Seen to benefit 6,000 travelers daily, the P2.4-billion “iconic mega” bridge will traverse Cagayan River between Camalaniugan town in eastern Cagayan and a portion of Aparri town on the western side. In June this year, government officials broke ground for the big-ticket project slated to be finished by 2023.

The 1,580-meter-long bridge will serve as an alternate route to the older Magapit Bridge, which has been the only travel route to the Ilocandia and Cordillera regions, as well as some southern parts of the Cagayan Valley Region.

23. Estrella Pantaleon Bridge

Opened in July this year, the four-lane bridge project connects Mandaluyong City to the Makati central business district in just about five minutes and can accommodate some 50,000 vehicles daily.

The 506.5-meter bridge, with a cost of P1.46 billion, was built as one of the projects under the Metro Manila Logistics Improvement Network to decongest traffic on Edsa. It is one of two bridges—the other being the Binondo-Intramuros Bridge—funded by a grant from China.

24. Bacolod-Negros Occidental Economic Highway

The 21-kilometer project includes three bridges and a two-way bike lane that is seen as an alternate road to the Circumferential Road, a primary route to the central business district of Bacolod.

The highway is seen to spur economic growth in Bacolod City as it will stretch from Barangay Sum-Ag to other barangays such as: Felisa, Handuman, Mansilingan, Estegania, Granada, Mandalagan, and Bata. It is one of the major infrastructure projects started by the previous administration. 

25. Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway

The Cebu-Cordova Bridge, known as the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEx), nears completion after construction began four years ago. Once finished, the 8-kilometer bridge is expected to ease congestion in the country’s second busiest urban center.

CCLEx, the third bridge connecting Cebu mainland to Mactan Island, will be using an all-electronic toll system to make way for faster traffic flow and seamless travel between Cebu City and Mactan, which hosts the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA), the Mactan Export Processing Zone, and some of the country’s posh resorts and hotels.

26. Davao 55-km bike lane

Opened to cyclists in July this year, the 55-kilometer network of bicycle lanes connects Metro Davao’s residential areas to its main hubs. It aims to help the public as passenger load in public transport remains limited during the pandemic. 

The P150-million project funded by the Bayanihan law spans 14 road sections within Davao City. It is one of the 11 “high-impact” projects of the national government in the Davao region. 

27. Clark International Airport expansion

The new passenger terminal building of the Clark International Airport has been completed and is set to open its doors by the end of 2021. It will accommodate international passengers to ease air traffic at the Naia in Pasay City.

The government has called the facility a “keystone” in the economic development of Central Luzon.

28. New Manila International Airport

SMC’s unsolicited proposal to build a P740-billion airport project and mixed-use development in Bulacan province is one of the alternate gateways seen to alleviate the congestion at the Naia. 

The international aerotropolis, or a metropolis revolving around an airport, involves a massive complex to be built on a 2,500-hectare location along Manila Bay in Bulakan town. In April 2018, the National Economic and Development Authority greenlighted the Swiss challenge for SMC’s proposed airport project that will have at least four runways and an initial capacity of 100 million passengers, more than three times that of the Naia.

29. Bohol-Panglao International Airport

Operations at the Bohol-Panglao International Airport began in November 2018, more than three years since its construction started in June 2015. The new gateway, which replaced the Tagbilaran Airport, was seen to increase the accessibility of the province of Bohol and to spur economic growth in the region. 

Dubbed as the “green gateway to the world,” the Bohol-Panglao airport features environmentally sustainable practices and green technologies, and can accommodate up to two million passengers annually, more than double the 800,000 annual capacity of the Tagbilaran Airport.

30. Mactan-Cebu International Airport expansion

The new passenger terminal at MCIA, one of the country’s busiest air gateways, was inaugurated in June 2018.

The completion of MCIA Terminal 2 was aimed at increasing the airport’s capacity from 4.5 million passengers annually to around 12.5 million passengers, boosting Cebu’s connectivity and its role as a gateway to other cities in the country  and as a major international transfer hub.

31. Bicol International Airport

The P4-billion Bicol International Airport, which three presidents had listed as a flagship project, was inaugurated in October this year.

Located in Daraga town, Albay province, the airport is touted as the country’s “most scenic gateway” with the iconic Mayon Volcano for its backdrop. It can  accommodate up to two million passengers annually.

The airport is envisioned as an international air hub south of Metro Manila, making travel to the Bicol region more convenient. With its opening, the government expects to attract businesses to the region, generating employment and boosting tourism growth.

32. Iloilo International Airport

The expansion of the Iloilo International Airport, which began operations in 2007, is one of the provincial airport projects of the government. The upgrade aims to decongest and enhance the operating efficiency of the airport, which is the fifth busiest airport in the country. 

The airport is the primary gateway to the province of Iloilo that has become a property investment hotspot in the last few years. At the same time, Iloilo’s strategic location makes it a convenient jump-off point to nearby prominent destinations in Western Visayas, including Bacolod City, Guimaras, Antique, Roxas, Kalibo, and Aklan (Boracay).

33. Bacolod-Silay airport

The expansion of the Bacolod-Silay Domestic Airport, which opened in January 2008, is one of the provincial airport modernization projects of the government. 

The airport, located 24 kilometers north of the old Bacolod terminal that it replaced, caters to passengers heading to Negros Island, including the cities of Bacolod and Silay, which are among the most populous cities in Western Visayas.

The expansion project and other key infrastructure projects, including the Bacolod economic highway and the Bacolod City south bus terminal, is expected to improve the competitiveness of Negros Island as a business and residential hub.

34. Puerto Princesa terminal

The new Puerto Princesa International Airport terminal building, which opened in May 2017, expanded the estimated capacity of the air gateway to scenic Palawan, from the old terminal building’s 350,000-passenger traffic to about two million passengers annually.

The airport boasts a floor area of 13,000 square meters, a seating capacity of 1,500, parking slots for over 200 cars, a 2,600-meter runway, and six parking bays.

35. San Vicente Airport

In May 2018, San Vicente in Palawan, a budding tourist destination that is home to a 14-kilometer stretch of pristine white sand facing the West Philippine Sea, inaugurated a new airport facility sufficient to handle limited daytime operations. 

The P62.7-million San Vicente Airport has a 1.6-kilometer runway and a passenger terminal that can accommodate around 100 people. 

The construction of the airport and key infrastructure projects including access roads from the main highway, sewage and water facilities, ports, and facilities at Long Beach and the municipality’s designation as tourism enterprise zone have made San Vicente attractive to investors, including major property developers.

36. General Santos International Airport upgrade

In September this year, the DOTr and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (Caap) inaugurated the expanded General Santos International Airport. 

The improvements include the expansion of the airport’s passenger building to handle at least two million travelers annually, double its previous capacity. Other upgrades included the newly installed navigational aids and the new Caap administration building.

According to the DOTr, the upgrades will allow the gateway to handle larger planes and more passengers, positioning Soccsksargen as a major international gateway in Mindanao and bringing progress and economic opportunities in the region.

By Marielle Medina, Arianne Suarez, Kathleen de Villa and Ana Roa, Inquirer Research  (Sources: Inquirer Archives, dpwh.gov.ph, pna.gov.ph, dotr.gov.ph, build.gov.ph)

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