The Philippines is a lovely place to be in. Its people, terrain, and culture – all contribute to a pleasant living experience unlike any other.
However, one thing that takes away at that is the country’s long-standing, and often toxic, relationship with road congestions, specifically in urban areas like Metro Manila.
For years now, the national government and the public, have had to deal with chronic crowding on Philippine roads but it’s only getting worse. From the construction of new pathways to the constant changing of number codings, it feels as if all possible avenues have been explored to address the situation – yet to no avail.
But as they say, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” And that ‘opportunity’ came in the form of the Metro Rail Transit Line 7 Project.
The Metro Rail Transit Line 7 Project, often shortened to MRT-7, is an ongoing project by the national government. The 22.8-kilometer long rapid transit line is being hailed as the answer to Metro Manila traffic, which has been described as the worst in Southeast Asia on multiple occasions.
If you’re interested in learning more about this infrastructure project, then keep scrolling! We’ve listed down everything you may need to know about this potential traffic-busting plan.
Who’s behind it?
For those who are not aware, the construction of the MRT-7 rail line has been in planning for a long time. The project was first pitched in March 2004, however, it was postponed several times and only picked up in 2014 when the Department of Finance issued the terms of financial guarantee for the line.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has been tasked to oversee the project and its management. However, the SMC-Mass Rail Transit 7 Incorporated – a subsidiary of the San Miguel Corporation – was the force behind it, which was submitted as an unsolicited proposal to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
Ultimately, the project was adopted by the government and is now being developed under a public-private partnership (PPP) with an indicative cost of ₱62.7 billion. Construction of the project officially started on August 15, 2017.
Where will it run?
The MRT-7 line will have a total of 14 stations once finished. It will link Quezon City to San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, and will span more than 14 miles.
Its stations will include:
- Quezon North Avenue
- Quezon Memorial Circle
- University Avenue
- Tandang Sora
- Don Antonio
- Dona Carmen
- Mindanao Avenue
- Sacred Heart
- San Jose del Monte
Once up and running, the new railway line will be able to cut down travel time – end to end – to only 35 minutes. It’s expected to serve 300,000 to 850,000 passengers daily.
Apart from this, the rail project will connect to the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) and the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) through the planned Unified Grand Central Station. The large transport center will be built near the corner of North Avenue and EDSA.
Who’s building it?
EEI Corporation has been tapped to build the rail line itself. Their main task involves the design, construction, and commissioning of the transit track.
What about the trains?
In 2016, the SMC-Mass Rail Transit 7 Incorporated awarded South Korean company Hyundai Rotem a turnkey contract worth US$ 440.2 million. Under the contract, Hyundai Rotem will supply 108 train cars, signaling, communication, and power supply systems to the rail line.
Eighteen cars, which will make up six trains, underwent factory acceptance testing this April in South Korea. If the trains pass the examination, the first batch will likely arrive this year.
When will it be completed?
According to SMC, the project is now 54 percent complete – with most of the construction now accomplished, specifically for the civil, mechanical, and electrical aspects of the plan. This includes the laying down of rails or tracks, bored piles, girders, foundational works on stations.
“Now that we’ve crossed the halfway mark, we’re expecting to reach a lot of major milestones for this project this year. This includes the construction of the stations, testing of various equipment in different countries, and the actual arrival of these equipment, including the first batch of trains,” SMC President and CEO Ramon Ang shared in a press release.
At its current pace, SMC expects the project to be fully operational by December 2022.
The company also made sure that the construction of the railway will continue even with the pandemic. They note that continued work on the infrastructure will help in providing jobs and spur economic recovery.
You can watch the progress update released by SMC below.
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Image credit: Department of Transportation (DOTr); SMC; Google Maps; EEI Corporation