6 Big Philippine Infrastructure Projects to Anticipate in the Medium Term12 August 2022
Now that it’s clear that the government’s Build! Build! Build! initiative is likely to continue with the new administration; it is also highly likely that we will see several big-ticket infrastructure projects completed before the end of the decade. The realization of these infrastructure projects is expected to transform the country in ways that have not been seen since the end of the postwar infrastructure boom.
Though there are a hundred flagship projects proceeding simultaneously under the government’s infrastructure program, there are a few that stand out given their likely economic impact and their current state of completion. Below are just 6 infrastructure initiatives that will change our lives before the end of the 2020s.
1.) LRT-1 South Extension
While not the most ambitious infrastructure project in recent years, the Cavite Extension Project may be considered to be among the most economically critical, as it will directly connect Metro Manila with the provincial suburbs of Cavite. Cavite is the site of several industrial real estate projects and is also where a significant portion of Metro Manila’s daytime working population resides.
Set to be completed in 2024, the Light Rail Transit Line 1 South Extension project (also called the Cavite Extension Project) will connect Metro Manila with Bacoor, Cavite. The project is currently adding 8 new stations and 11.7 kilometers of elevated light railway track.
The completion of the project may reduce local dependence on individual vehicles and buses and improve commute times between Cavite and Metro Manila. It will also create vital mass transit links connecting Parañaque and Las Piñas to the rest of the region. Finally, the project will be a model for future railways projects that will further connect Metro Manila with its suburbs and with the emerging master-planned industrial real estate communities of CALABARZON and Central Luzon.
2.) New Centennial Water Source – Kaliwa Dam Project
Metro Manila has been experiencing a series of water shortages in recent years, particularly during the dry season. This is mostly because the Angat Dam, the area’s main source of water, has been facing challenges due to climate change and higher overall water consumption.
The New Centennial Water Source - Kaliwa Dam project is a water infrastructure project that aims to address the Greater Manila Area’s water supply issues for generations to come. The project is designed to help the country’s most vital economic center thrive even in the face of climate change.
Slated to be completed by 2026, the Kaliwa Dam Project will serve the needs of Metro Manila, Rizal, and Quezon for decades to come. It will also allow more areas in the periphery of Metro Manila to support industrial real estate projects and advanced economic activities.
3.) New Manila International Airport
The New Manila International Airport is a flagship project under the Build! Build! Build! infrastructure program. It is intended to alleviate pressure on the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) by serving as Metro Manila’s main aviation hub. It is currently being built in Bulakan, Bulacan, a few kilometers north of Metro Manila, and it is anticipated to be finished in the year 2026.
The area surrounding the future international airport may also host special economic zones, industrial parks, and other high-value economic centers. If these proposed developments push through, they may help further decongest Metro Manila by creating high-value jobs and residential options within Bulacan.
4.) Southeast Metro Manila Expressway (SEMME)
This new Metro Manila expressway is slated to be partly usable by the end of 2022, providing an alternative north-south route to the perpetually congested EDSA and C-5 avenues. The SEMME will also serve to directly connect Rizal province with the City of Taguig, one of the country’s biggest business centers, as well as with the northeast environs of Quezon City.
This new expressway will dramatically cut travel times within the Rizal suburbs and the eastern parts of Metro Manila. Additionally, it may improve the feasibility of creating economic zones that create jobs within Rizal province, giving residents more quality employment options close to home.
5.) South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) Toll Road 4 and Toll Road 5 Extensions
The Toll Road 4 extension of the SLEX is aimed at decongesting the route between Santo Tomas, Batangas and Lucena, Quezon, while providing a high-quality option for vehicles moving between Calabarzon and Bicol. This SLEX extension is especially important as the Calabarzon region has a high density of industrial parks and special economic zones, which make it the second largest economic zone in the Philippines by GDP. The addition of a high-quality transportation option that primarily serves Calabarzon is likely to boost the logistics capacity of the area, further driving the region’s growth.
Toll Road 5 is an ambitious 417-kilometer extension of the SLEX that will finally give Bicol a modern expressway link to the rest of Luzon. The project will span the length of the Bicol region, decongesting the heavy traffic at the Pan-Philippine Highway and cutting travel time from Naga to Metro Manila by up to three hours. This and other road projects are seen to bring a massive boost to Bicol’s economy.
Both these projects are set to partially open by the end of 2022, with completion sometime in the next few years.
6.) North-South Commuter Railway
Perhaps the most ambitious of all the Build! Build! Build! projects, the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR), or the Clark-Calamba Railway, as it’s popularly called. The NSCR is a 147-kilometer megaproject that aims to link several large economic centers, industrial parks, and special economic zones from New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac, to Calamba, Laguna.
The project is intended to finally give the Greater Manila Area and adjoining provincial population centers important commuter linkages, ultimately alleviating the serious traffic congestion that affects all the connected areas. The NSCR is currently planned to have direct connections with existing and future mass transit systems, including the Metro Manila Subway, LRT Line 1, LRT Line 2, and MRT Line 3.
Though these megaprojects are likely to create immense value for the communities they will affect, we should also recognize the impact of the thousands of other small projects throughout the country that are being executed without much fanfare. Ultimately, it’s the sum of all these efforts, big and small, that will help propel the country towards a more hopeful future.
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