The Common Station connecting Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1, Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3 and the proposed MRT Line 7 will break ground by the end of 2016, to be completed two and a half to three years later, by 2018 to 2019 – at the latest.
Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade and major shareholders of the project set the target schedule before signing an agreement identifying a single location for a Common Station the other day.
Should the parties decide to build the Common Station between SM North EDSA and Trinoma malls, they will all meet again to finalize its engineering design.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) assured them that the vehicular underpass currently being designed to decongest the North Avenue – EDSA intersection will seamlessly integrate with the Common Station.
The agreement, which broke a seven-year impasse, was a milestone agreement between the government and private sectors.
Still, “There’s difference between signing and doing, but apparently we have come to an agreement. Assuming that the architectural and engineering designs are done and agreed with, hopefully we can ground break before the end of this year,” the DOTr Secretary acknowledged.
DOTr Secretary Tugade, DPWH Secretary Mark Villar and Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) Deputy Administrator Emerson Benitez signed the agreement with SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (SMPHI) President Hans Sy, Vice Chairman of the North Triangle Depot Commercial Corporation and Chairman of Ayala Land, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, San Miguel Corp. (SMC) President Ramon Ang and Light Rail Manila Consortium (LRMC) Vice Chairman Manny V. Pangilinan.
“We’re participating to show our good faith, and to express that we support programs that are geared to benefit the public,” remarked SMPHI President Hans Sy.
“It’s a pleasure to be together with these other groups in making this critical junction for three railway systems to come together. If we can continue to cooperate this way, there are many other things we can take down,” according to ALI’s Jaime Zobel de Ayala.
SMC’s Ramon Ang of SMC thanked the government’s initiatives “to put everybody together and make this thing happen.”
It’s “very beneficial to the public,” remarked MPIC chairman and LRMC vice-chairman Manny V. Pangilinan, “especially that this has been delayed for years now.”
The Common Station project started in 2009 but has been put on hold since. The LRT Authority initially inked a deal with SMPHI to build the station near SM North EDSA. Five years later, the DOTC decided to build the Station near Ayala’s Trinoma citing reasons to cut costs.
The Supreme Court (SC) intervened and issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) in favor of SMPHI to stop the construction of the Common Station. This delayed the construction of the project for more than seven years.
With the agreement, the parties need to file a motion with the High Court to lift the TRO.