San Miguel readies 2 big infra projects

Conglomerate San Miguel Corp. said it will start construction of two big-ticket infrastructure projects this year-the P63-billion Mass Rail Transit Line 7 and the P24-billion Bulacan bulk water-as the company pursues investments to support the growth of the country.

San Miguel Holdings head of tollway project Alec Cruz said during a journalists' seminar held in Tagaytay over the weekend the conglomerate recently secured all government approvals and funding for the projects.

The contractor for the project-Hyundai Rotem-EEI consortium-has started developing the initial design for the project to enable it to start actual construction the project within the year.

San Miguel, however, expects the project to face challenges in the implementation period, especially on right-of-way issues, just like its much-delayed NAIA Expressway project.

"Hopefully we have learned our lessons for our past projects and that the government will also be able to adjust," Cruz said.

The MRT 7 project involves the financing, design, construction, operation and maintenance of a 23-kilometer elevated railway line with 14 stations from San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan to MRT 3 North Avenue in Quezon City.

MRT 7 will have a capacity of 525,000 passengers, which could be expanded to 850,000 passengers.

Another component of the project is a 22-kilometer asphalt road from Bocaue Interchange of the North Luzon Expressway to the intermodal terminal in Tala in Caloocan City.

Cruz said the 22-kilometer road project would help decongest EDSA, as buses from Central Luzon used the highway up to proposed intermodal terminal in Caloocan city. The same passengers could use the MRT 7 up to SM North in Quezon City, which will be connected to two other railway systems-LRT 1 and the MRT 3.

Cruz said the company would also start constructing the Bulacan bulk water project, which aimed to address the water supply requirements of Bulacan towns, thereby reducing groundwater extraction and the use of deep wells which are being discouraged due to their adverse impact on the environment.

The consortium of San Miguel and Korea Water Resources Corp. in January signed a concession agreement on the Bulacan water supply project after offering the lowest bulk water charge of P8.50 per cubic meter.

The Bulacan Bulk Water Supply Project, the first awarded under the public-private partnership program, is a 30-year concession deal.

Under the agreement, the SMC-K Water group will finance the proejct, provide the detailed design and build and maintain the conveyance and treatment facilities and the water source for the duration of the contract.

The project, which covers 21 municipalities and three cities, will benefit some 3.4 million residents.

Source: The Standard

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