San Miguel Corporation (SMC) vowed to work double time to make sure that Skyway Stage 3 opens by July this year, despite its contractor’s estimate of eight months to rebuild the portion of the road project that collapsed from a fire at a nearby warehouse in Pandacan, Manila over the weekend.
“We are saddened by this unfortunate incident mainly because it will delay a vital infrastructure project that would have alleviated traffic woes of our motorists sooner. But rest assured, we will work 24/7 to endeavor to complete the entire project in five months. This is just a 3-month delay from the original opening target,” SMC president and COO Ramon S. Ang said.
Motorists were looking forward to the road’s opening by April 1 this year. Skyway Stage 3 was designed to eliminate choke points and provide motorists seamless connection between and north and south. It stretches from Gil Puyat Avenue in Makati and traverses through San Juan, Manila and Quezon City all the way to the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX). Upon completion, traveling to and from Buendia and Balintawak could only take 15 minutes.
SMC said its initial investigation showed that the fire was a freak accident that could have likely emanated from the DMCI construction yard that eventually spread to its nearby plastics warehouse, which at that time was in the process of being relocated out of Pandacan.
The relocation is part of the company’s efforts to clear its properties in Pandacan, in consideration of Skyway and future projects. Earlier, SMC completed the removal of subsidiary Petron Corporation’s oil depot facilities in the area.
“We continue to liaise with the concerned authorities to address all issues pertaining to the incident. It is fortunate that no one was harmed and we thank everybody who took the time to help fight the fire,” Ang said.
He added that, “What pains us is that we missed the opportunity to help motorists sooner with the opening of this road network. But what’s important now is that we get back to work right away and double our hard work. There will be no shortcuts and we will put all our resources on this effort.”
Recently, SMC proposed to use the Pandacan property to build a major, integrated transport and food terminal to help further decongest main entry and exit points to Metro Manila.
For travelers to and from northern and southern Luzon provinces, the project is envisioned to serve as a safe, convenient and more comfortable central transport hub.
Meanwhile, food haulers from the province can deliver fresh produce to a modern, central food terminal without having to add to Metro Manila traffic.
“This incident is a reminder to all of us that right of way for all our infrastructure projects should be clear of fire hazards. We call on the Department of Public Works and Highways to continue to strictly enforce this to avoid similar incidents from happening,” Ang said.
Currently, there are still a number of tank farms owned by other companies that are still in the Pandacan area that used to be a depot for various oil firms.