The severe traffic congestion experienced along Ortigas Avenue Extension these days are due partly to civil works related to a water project. This is similar to works that were implemented along Marcos Highway that coincided with the road widening and drainage project along that Highway. Ortigas Ext. traffic is always bad during the weekdays due to the limited capacity of the road combined with the sheer volume of traffic it has to carry. The highway still serves as the primary artery connecting the populous and progressive towns of Rizal Province to Metro Manila. These include Antipolo City and the towns of Cainta, Taytay, Binangonan and Angono. I’ve written a piece about traffic along Ortigas Ext. as well as the management schemes that have been employed to address peak period congestion including allowing counterflow traffic on weekday mornings. Following are a few more observations and assessments
Civil works in the middle of Ortigas Ave. Ext. in the De Castro Subdivision area – road capacity is substantially reduced along significant sections of the road due to waterworks project. Both eastbound and westbound traffic are affected as one lane each are taken up by the project. Traffic flow will surely improve once the project is completed, automatically adding two lanes (one for either direction) to increase capacity.
Sunday jam – I can only imagine how bad traffic congestion can be during the weekdays. The photo above is one I took on a Sunday afternoon showing congestion along the westbound direction typically associated with peak period traffic on weekdays. Meanwhile, traffic is practically free flowing on the eastbound side once you get past the work area across De Castro. I was a little surprised about the discipline of drivers considering only few (mostly motorcycles) dared to counterflow.
More diggings – this time 2 lanes are taken away from the wide section of Ortigas stretching from across the former Riverside Mills to the BF Metal Corp. This is where vehicles usually make U-turns because of the space available for vehicles making such maneuvers that are no longer allowed during most periods past the vicinity of Cainta Junction.
Approach to Cainta Junction – this is probably one of the most congestion or saturated intersections outside Metro Manila. Most traffic though can be attributed to Metro Manila as most vehicles are either bound for MM or are coming from it. At this Junction, Ortigas Ext. meets Imelda Ave. (formerly known also as Francisco Felix Ave.), which continues as A. Bonifacio Ave. as it extends to towards Cainta town proper. Ortigas Ext. from the eastbound approach has only 2 lanes (another 2 on the opposing direction) widening to 5 (additional lane for right turning traffic to Cainta) at the entry. Meanwhile the westbound approach from Antipolo/Taytay also has 3 lanes with one dedicated to right turning traffic, which is significant due to left turns being disallowed from the eastbound approach towards Imelda Ave. Vehicles now go through Ortigas and take a U-turn after the junction and then turn right to Imelda. At the median opening, Ortigas has been widened to allow for such maneuvers.
Cainta traffic and the MMDA has been experimenting on a number of schemes for the signalized junction. One proposal that has been on the shelf for quite some time now is for an overpass to be constructed along Ortigas to allow for continuous traffic flow along the highway. So far, there just seems to be not enough space for an overpass to be constructed and some quarters are saying that the only way to improve traffic really is to widen Ortigas to something like Marcos Highway on the other end of Imelda Ave. Such propositions could have been averted if a mass transit system was constructed along this corridor when congestion was just starting to set-in. Actually, history tells us that there was a mass transit system before with trains running regularly between Manila and Antipolo. But that is a topic we’ll reserve for another post. Abangan!