The underpass along Quezon Avenue at its intersection with Araneta Avenue was finally completed and opened to traffic last September 28, 2012. It is perhaps one of the most anticipated inaugurations of infrastructure for Metro Manila and not an anti-climactic one like what was hyped as the completion of the loop formed by MRT3 and LRT1 a few years ago. That didn’t turn out well as we now know there is no loop at all with real connection of the two rail lines. But that, as they say, is another story worth another post or two.
Based on reports from different people including our office’s drivers and some colleagues, traffic has significantly improved in the area. The only joke going around is if the underpass will not be a catchment for floodwaters should there be strong rains considering that it was flooded during construction due to its proximity to the San Juan River and the perennially flooded areas of Talayan and Espana. There are, of course, pumps that have already been installed for the underpass to reduce if not eliminate the possibility of flooding. Following are a few photos taken one Saturday mid-morning when I passed along the area.
A view of the approach to the underpass from Banawe. The pedestrian overpass is across Sto. Domingo Church.
The section has 4 lanes with opposing traffic physically separated by a median island. The fence is likely to prevent jaywalking as well as maybe dissipate glare from headlights during night time.
Potted plants have been placed along the median and though perhaps more are needed, I am glad there are no concrete balls that look like goat poop used to “decorate” the underpass. Columns and girders support the underpass walls at near the junction with Araneta Ave.
Approaching the section directly under Araneta Avenue, the first impression is that it is quite dark though motorists can see the end of the underpass. Pumps have been installed to drain water from this lowest parts of the underpass and prevent it (or reduced) from being flooded during times of strong rains.
The end of the tunnel is practically a mirror image of the other. There are few potted plants as shown and perhaps more are needed to soften the look of the underpass as well as to reduce headlight glares.
Back at-grade – emerging from the underpass, motorists will eventually merge with the traffic along the wide sections of Quezon Avenue. On the opposite direction, I noticed some congestion for vehicle emerging from the underpass as there is a U-turn slot a few meters from the ramp at the Banawe area.
There are traffic signals to manage flows at the at-grade junction of Quezon Ave. and Araneta Ave. It is expected that by reducing the volume of through traffic along Quezon Ave., the signals would be able to handle the remaining traffic and that the intersection will not be as congested as the case prior to the construction of the underpass. Of course, I would also like to see for myself how traffic is in the area during the regular weekdays, particularly on the typically busy days of Monday and Friday.