Elevated EDSA: Is it Feasible?

Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA), formerly known as Highway 54, is a 24-kilometer highway that comprises a major portion of the Circumferential Road 4 (C-4) in Metro Manila. It begins at Monumento and ends near the Mall of Asia in Manila; all the while passing through the various cities like Pasay, Mandaluyong, Makati, Caloocan and Quezon City. Estimations suggest that around 2.34 million vehicles pass through it every single day. And if there’s one thing that it is often associated with EDSA, it is traffic. Traffic jams along EDSA could be very taxing on motorists; the average travel speed during rush hours hover between 10-20kph. Despite the addition of the Metro Rail Transit, the heavy traffic continued to be a problem.

Highway Overpass

In the last quarter of 2011, Rogelio Singson, cabinet secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), has announced a plan to build an “Elevated EDSA” atop the existing one. With an anticipated budget of around P50 billion, the project would consist of six-lanes with a combined length 22 kilometers. The question that begs us is this: With the staggering amount of money required, is the project actually feasible?

Looking at the current traffic situation along EDSA, one can’t help but mourn at the suffering of motorists who spend a portion of their daily lives inching their way through perennial roads. Close observations would hint that this hindrance is caused by the collective effects of: a) several u-turn slots along the center island, b) the overflow of public transportation vehicles, c) illegal bus and jeepney terminals, and d) the illegal crossing of pedestrians. Observing further, let us take a look at the South Luzon Expressway, which has a “Skyway” built on top of it.

The South Luzon Expressway is quite similar to EDSA in the sense that it consists of four lanes for fast-moving vehicles. However, the two can be distinguished by certain differences. First of all, SLEX contains two additional lanes as service lanes for jeepneys. Thereby, it is able to segregate jeepneys and other slow-moving vehicles. Second, it also contains exits for major intersections of each city. Here is a system we can apply to EDSA. If similar exits where constructed for Caloocan, Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasay and Quezon City, the need for u-turn slots will be nonexistent. In addition, if a metro rail system along EDSA is implemented, buses would no longer have to crowd the major routes.

All in all, the elevated EDSA does not look like a feasible solution to our current traffic woes. More and more, it seems to be just a short-term solution to our traffic concerns. Sure, it’ll probably reduce traffic in the first 3-5 years of its existence, but what about the years after that? However, if various government agencies would directly address the main culprits for the heavy traffic, then we might end up with a more productive and permanent solution.

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