By now, you've heard about the partial opening of the Skyway Project Stage 3 up to Plaza Dilao in Quirino Highway by the end of the month. Light vehicles may soon bypass the busy Makati streets and be within a few kilometers of Nagtahan Bridge, and eventually, A. Bonifacio Avenue and NLEX.
Within a few month's time, your 1-hour or longer ride from SLEX to Quezon City or NLEX to Makati will be cut to just as little as 20-minutes. Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar has said Skyway Stage 3 construction is in “full swing, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” all to meet the tight deadline imposed on the project.
So what exactly is the Skyway Stage 3, where does it pass and what are the exit points?
The Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 project is an 18.68-kilometer elevated expressway. Once completed, it will reduce travel time from Buendia, Makati to Balintawak, Quezon City from two hours to just 15-20 minutes. By extension, the distance between areas like Clark in Pampanga to Calamba in Laguna could be traveled in as little as 1 hour and 40 minutes. The project costs P37.43B and is expected to decongest major Metro Manila thoroughfares by as much as 55,000 vehicles daily.
The Skyway Stage 3 is one of two elevated expressways the government is planning. The second is the NLEX-SLEX connector road which will connect to a portion of the Skyway Stage 3 and on to the SLEX.
Back to Skyway Stage 3, eight ramps in crucial areas of Metro Manila will connect the project to the rest of the city. These ramps will be located along these sections of the project: Buendia/Makati to Quirino / Nagtahan (3.76 km.); Nagtahan to Aurora Blvd./Ramon Magsaysay Ave. (6.19 km.); Nagtahan to Tomas Claudio (0.96 km.); Tomas Claudio to PUP Sta. Mesa (1.30 km.); Tomas Claudio to Ramon Magsaysay Ave. (3.93 km.); Ramon Magsaysay Ave. to Quezon Ave. (2.71 km.); Quezon Ave. to Balintawak (4.46 km.); and Balintawak to NLEX (1.56 km.).
The first section of the project, from Gil Puyat "Buendia" Avenue in Makati all the way to Quirino Avenue in Manila, is already 83% complete. Further down the line, the third section of the project, which spans from Ramon Magsaysay Avenue in Manila up to Balintawak Interchange in Quezon City is 81% completed (as of July 12, 2019). By the year's end, the two tollways will be effectively connected. However, it will be open to the public in 2020.
How does this project benefit the average motorist? The Skyway Stage 3 will effectively allow many motorists (provided they have a car or motorcycle 400cc and above) to bypass most of the city's busiest streets, whether traveling from north to south or vice versa. Imagine going up the Quezon Ave onramp and landing at the Buendia off-ramp just a few minutes later.Thanks to the eight exits along the way, one needn't pass by EDSA or any of the interior roads to get from one point of the city to the other, saving lots of time and fuel.
If Plaza Dilao's opening is any indication, we could have more exits opening up by the end of the year, making travel between these eight points easier. This also makes bypassing Metro Manila much easier particularly those that need to travel from a northern province outside of Metro Manila to a Southern one, without having to fight through the mega city's infamous traffic.
The Skyway Stage 3's official opening is still set for the first quarter of 2020. No specific date has been set. Toll fees have yet to be announced. Nonetheless, it's certainly a project whose completion we can really look forward to.