Since its opening, Skyway Stage 3 has granted motorists seamless travel between South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and North Luzon Expressway (NLEX). Thanks to this project, travel time between Alabang and Balintawak has been reduced from three hours to just 30 minutes. Travel from Buendia to Balintawak, on the other hand, now only takes 20 minutes—allowing motorists to also save on fuel and maintenance costs.
Use of Skyway Stage 3 has been free so far, but next week, toll fee collection will begin as per the recent announcement by the San Miguel Corporation (SMC). The soon-to-be-announced toll rates will be based on a new matrix, which takes into account the impact of the ongoing pandemic on Filipinos and the economy.
While many of us will miss the free passage on the elevated expressway, SMC does need to recoup its expenses on this project, the same way the government must generate income from the tollway through a 12% VAT on all fees.
Curious as to where your toll fees for Skyway Stage 3 will go? SMC provided a quick overview on its expenses, setbacks, and additional costs for this project:
Initial and maintaining costs
The company fully funded the construction without the help of government funds or grants. Over the span of two administrations, SMC has had to spend over P80 billion—double its original cost—to complete the project.
The wear and tear that the elevated expressway will endure from its capacity of 200,000 vehicles a day is no joke. Of course, SMC needs funds to maintain a smooth and safe driving experience for all motorists that will use Skyway Stage 3.
Many of the delays and costs added to the original budget were caused by several right-of-way (ROW) issues that required major redesigns and realignments. As part of these compromises, SMC shouldered the cost of reconstructing three Metro Manila bridges.
Revisions to the original plan include realignment on San Juan river due to ROW unavailability; construction of EDSA-Balintawak-NLEX extension to connect directly to NLEX; adjustment of Nagtahan rampway locations to ease Quirino Avenue traffic; upgrade to Quirino interchange; alignment over Buendia bridge to avoid ROW issues and disrupting PNR operations; and more ROW acquisitions and utility relocations.
Despite numerous setbacks and challenges, the company still pushed through with the completion of the Skyway Stage 3 project. SMC president Ramon S. Ang has this to say about the project:
“We aggressively pursued the completion of Skyway 3 despite all of the obstacles, including right-of-way issues, because our people need a long-term solution to traffic. We believe it can also help boost our economy over the long term as it provides, finally, a seamless connection between North and South Luzon. With the same dedication, we will pursue other major road and mass transport projects to benefit our countrymen.”
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