Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) head Mark Villar is still positive that transit time from Cubao to Makati can be shortened from an hour to five minutes “very soon.”
Villar confirmed this in the video of a press conference he shared on social media on Jan. 11, where he was asked, "The entire EDSA Decongestion Program, do we expect that to be delivered during the Duterte administration?"
“Yes, we do. That was the intention," the engineering and construction secretary replied. "As you can see, as early as last year, na-deliver na yung right of way ng Skyway. ‘Yung connector, malapit na po. At na-deliver na rin ‘yung right of way ng Harbor Link. So we are confident that by the end of the term of the president, it will be back to its original capacity,” Villar said in a video of a press conference he shared on social media Jan. 11.
“‘Pag natapos yung Skyway, Makati to Balintawak, imagine SLEX to NLEX [in] 15 minutes. E, kung 15 minutes lang ‘yan, e ‘di Makati to Quezon City ang lapit lang. Baka five minutes lang talaga,” he added.
The EDSA Decongestion Masterplan comprises 25 projects that aim to free EDSA from a long-standing gridlock to at least 120,000 vehicles on a daily basis.
Villar continued, “The capacity of EDSA is approximately 288,000 cars per day. Based on our projections, currently, the usage of EDSA is 400,000 per day. Based on our projections we will be able to relieve EDSA at least 120,000, bringing it back to its original capacity at least.”
“Pero sa tingin ko hindi lang 120,000. Pag natapos na po ‘yung mga project ng EDSA decongestion, mahigit pa sa 120,000 ang mawawala sa EDSA,” he said.
Duterte announced his intent to free up EDSA from traffic-jam in an interview on Sonshine Media Network in June 8, 2019.
“You just wait. Ayaw kong mag-ano. Things will improve. Maybe God willing, December smooth sailing na,” said Duterte. “You don’t have to worry about traffic. Cubao and Makati will be just about five minutes na lang.”
Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) special operations commander Colonel Bong Nebrija said that traversing EDSA in as fast as five minutes is quite impossible—especially with the highway’s speed limit of 60 kph.
“Kung iko-compute mo, kung 12.8 [kilometers] yan, para makuha mo in five minutes, dapat tumatakbo ka nang 155kph, which is masyado mabilis,” Nebrija said in an interview with DZMM TeleRadyo on June 10 that year.
Still, he vowed to act on the President’s tall order as soon as possible.
“The way you look at is what the President said and how he said it. Now we have a goal,” Nebrija said in the same interview. “We already see the light at the end of the tunnel. Nandoon na ang goal ng Presidente.”
Philippine traffic ninth-worst in the world for 2020
Many Filipinos are keeping their hopes up on the full implementation of the EDSA Decongestion Masteplan, especially because, even amid the pandemic, traffic congestion continues to cause headache among local travelers.
According to the global traffic index published by crowdsourced global statistics database Numbeo, the Philippines has the worst traffic-jam in Southeast Asia and the ninth-worst in the world in 2020.
The report covers 81 countries with results or traffic index calculated based on the time their local travelers consume in traffic, as well as their carbon dioxide consumption, inefficiencies, and dissatisfaction while stuck in the gridlock.
According to Numbeo’s report, the Philippines’ traffic index averaged at 198.33.
Finishing at the top spot is Nigeria with a traffic index of 311.39, while Austria ranked the lowest with 80.52.