Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tunnel proposed under EDSA

MANILA, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Sept. 15, 2011) – A Filipino lawmaker on Thursday urged infrastructure planners to consider putting up a Malaysian-type Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel (SMART) on a Philippine highway that could ease motor vehicle travel and help surrounding communities deal with potential flooding.

House Deputy Majority Leader Roman Romulo also urged the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to study the feasibility of building under Epifanio delos Santos Avenue a dual-purpose tunnel patterned after Kuala Lumpur’s SMART storm drainage and road structure.

“The only option left is to construct a new motorway beneath EDSA, since it can no longer be widened, and we already have the Metro Rail Transit line over the main road,” Romulo said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner.

Romulo was reacting to the DPWH’s plan to build either an elevated highway over EDSA, or a tunnel below it, to relieve traffic.

He said Malaysia put together its 9.7-kilometer SMART, a key national project, at a cost of $515 million, or around P22 billion at the current exchange rate. “Assembled over four years, their SMART is basically a motorway and stormwater tunnel in one that could be duplicate here,” he said, adding under normal conditions, the two-channel tunnel serves as a motorway for light vehicles.

During rainy season some floodwater may be diverted into the lower bypass channel, while the upper section remains open to motor vehicle passage. And in the event of extreme storms, the upper channel is totally closed to all motor vehicle traffic and automated water-tight gates are opened to divert floodwaters.

“We have to change our way of life, even the way we design new roads, if we are to cope with brutal weather conditions, including excessive rainfall and severe floodwaters, in the years ahead,” Romulo said.

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