Two years from now commuters from Eastern Metro Manila and the Province of Rizal will be able to take the Light Rail Transit Line 2 (LRT-2) at the junction of Marcos and Sumulong highways in Antipolo.
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On Tuesday morning, Light Rail Transit Authority Administrator Honorito Chaneco was joined by Transportation and Communications Undersecretary Julianito Bucayan and local government officials in a ground breaking ceremony for the LRT East Extension Project.
The P9.5-billion project covers the construction of an additional 4.2-km. elevated viaduct from the current end station in Santolan, Pasig City to the junction of Marcos and Sumulong.
Two additional stations will be built, the Emerald Station in Cainta, Rizal and the Masinag Station at the Masinag junction in Antipolo City.
The Masinag extension will enhance the capacity of the mass transit system, Chaneco said.
On top of the 240,000 daily commuters, an additional 75,000 commuters are expected once the extended LRT 2 starts to operate in the third quarter of 2017.
Melba Santillan, a regular commuter on the LRT-2, said the project is a relief to commuters from Antipolo.
“Ang usual travel time with traffic 30 minutes galing Masinag. Labas pa dun ang one hour na pag-hi-hintay ng masasakyan kaya malaking ginhawa,” she said.
Travel time may be reduced to 6 minutes from Santolan to Masinag once the Masinag Station is fully operational, said Chaneco.
Brace for traffic
For now, commuters may have to brace themselves for heavy traffic as two lanes on each side of Marcos highway will be occupied by workers, materials and equipment during the construction phase to extend the LRT-2.
Officials of Cainta, Antipolo, Department of Transportation and Communications and Metro Manila Development Authority will have come up with an effective traffic management plan.
Once the necessary permits are secured, construction will start in the last week of June.
Transportation and Communications Undersecretary Julianito Bucayan said flooding in the area as well as the West Valley Fault have been factored in during the planning and conceptualization stage of the project.
“Mukhang masasabay ang construction sa tag-ulan. Kapag mataas ang baha, tigil muna, tapos itutuloy pag-OK na… tuloy ulit. I’m sure na-i-konsulta na rin ito sa PHIVOLCS taking into consideration na malapit siya sa Marikina na daanan ng West Valley Fault,” Bucayan said.
While no additional trains will be brought in for the extended LRT-2., the LRTA claimed the increase in commuter volume will not affect the mass transit system’s quality of service.
The LRT-2 uses 12 trains in its daily operations, with six trains on standby at the depot.
“Hanggang 80 kilometers per hour ang bilis ng LRT-2, compared sa line 1 and MRT3 na 40 kph,” Chaneco said.
Commuters will have to shell out an additional P4 or P1 per kilometer to cover the fare from Santolan to Masinag.
This will bring the end-to end-fare from Recto to Masinag to P29-P30 from the current P25. – VS, GMA News