Will this make national roads more congested?

Heavy traffic has has become the norm all hours of the day in the past few years. However, due to the ongoing Skyway extension construction work from Alabang to San Pedro, the traffic jam along SLEx has been taken to a whole new level. Some reports claim that the queues reach as far back as Santa Rosa Exit, which is almost 20 kilometers away from Alabang.

These circumstances have created a nightmare to our fellow motorists. Big bike riders who can enter the expresswayshave also expressed their frustration over the situation because it means filtering their heavy big bikes in and out of the traffic standstill along SLEx, comparable to that of EDSA.

Starting Monday, October 14, however, our motorcycle brothers who ply the National Road between Batangas and Alabang could also feel the brunt of the SLEx chaos. Skyway Operations and Maintenance Corporation (SOMCO) announced that Manila-bound trucks would be limited to midday trips via the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX). They further stated that trucks can only pass through the SLEX between 9:30AM to 4:00PM, and between 9:30PM to 4:00AM. For those taking STAR Tollway, trucks may pass from 8:30AM to 3:30PM, and between 8:00PM to 3:00AM.

SLEx and STAR tollways to adjust truck ban hours image

This means that trucks bound for Manila outside of those times will be re-routing through the National Highway and could affect the traffic along the towns between Batangas and Alabang. For sub-400cc riders, this means more effort to filter the standstill traffic.

The said rules, however, will not apply to trucks heading out of Manila, nor to those coming from Laguna. They will only apply to trucks travelling beyond Laguna and into Metro Manila.

"Kung kayo ay mga truck galing sa Batangas, papapasukin lang namin ng mga 8:30 in the morning hanggang 3:30 in the afternoon, para sa ganoon, hindi na sila makipaghalo sa peak hour period natin dito sa Alabang Viaduct (For trucks coming from Batangas, we will only let you in the Star Tollway starting 8:30 in the morning until 3:30 in the afternoon so that they won't reach the peak hour period at the Alabang Viaduct. What we observed is what exacerbates traffic during peak hours is the presence of many heavy vehicles on the road during peak hours.)," Manuel Bonoan, President of the SOMCO was quoted telling reporters.

This plan is meant to ease traffic during ongoing construction of a portion of the extended Skyway ramp which connects the elevated toll roads to Susana Heights in Muntinlupa. This project is expected to be completed by the end of November. Bonoan assured the people that construction is happening as fast as possible to avoid even more traffic expected during the Christmas holiday rush.

Construction along the southbound side, on the other hand, will begin in December or January of next year. Bonoan has appealed to motorists for their extended patience while assuring that all the construction projects will “definitely mitigate” Manila-bound traffic. The entire project is expected to finish by the end of 2020.