San Miguel gets government nod to build green highway

San Miguel Corp. (SMC) has signed a supplemental toll operations agreement with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for the construction of the Pasig River Expressway (Parex).

The supplemental agreement gives SMC a 30-year franchise to build and operate the 19.4-kilometer Parex along the Pasig River banks within 36 months, connecting the eastern and western parts of the metropolis.

SMC will shoulder the P95-billion cost to build Parex, with no taxpayer or government money used.

“We have seen the miracle of road connection that was done by linking the north and south through Skyway 3. It is our ambition to also connect the east and west corridors of Metro Manila. Parex will not only benefit motorists, but it will also spill over to the economy as it will reduce congestion and increase productivity,” Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said.

For his part, SMC President Ramon S. Ang said the project will employ “green design principles” for both construction and operations and will also have provisions for fiber deployment.

“In total Parex will generate 50,000 direct jobs and…about 200,000 jobs if you add the indirect jobs that will be created because of the project,” Ang said.

Parex entails the construction of a 19.40-kilometer, six-lane elevated expressway along the banks of the river. This requires the river bed to be dredged and cleared of decades of debris and garbage, to attain its optimum depth and ensure the constant flow of water.

The expressway will start from Radial Road 10 (R10) in the City of Manila and end at a connection to the Southeast Metro Manila Expressway (SEMME), otherwise known as Circumferential Road 6 (C6). It is seen to reduce travel time from Manila to Rizal to just 15 minutes.

From R10, or the port area, it will have entry and exit points at the University Belt area, San Juan, Buendia, Mandaluyong, Makati, Rockwell, Edsa, Pioneer St., Bonifacio Global City, C5, before terminating at C6.

It is aims to provide an alternative and faster access to the country’s largest business districts—Makati, Ortigas, and Bonifacio Global City.

“Parex will provide a long-term solution to the growing traffic problem in the metropolis,” Public Works Undersecretary Catalina E. Cabral said.

Parex will also incorporate a bus rapid transit to make the road more “inclusive.” It will feature “dedicated bike lanes and walkways” and will be purposely-built around green architecture and engineering principles, with sustainability as its key driver.

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