The underpass along Quezon Avenue (Radial Road 7 or R-7) for its intersection with Araneta Avenue (Circumferential Road 3 or C-3) is currently being constructed. The project was approved last year and it designed to relieve congestion at this busy junction of two major thoroughfares. Among the alternatives considered for the intersection was a 4-lane overpass to be constructed along Quezon Avenue similar in design to the overpasses in Iloilo and Cebu cities. One concern, however, that needed to be explained thoroughly by the DPWH to stakeholders, especially the Quezon City government, was the prospect of flooding. The area, particularly the part of Talayan Village, is prone to flooding with water reaching waste-level that can be brought about by heavy rains. It may even be worse for rainfall of the Ondoy or Sendong kind.
The project seems to be proceeding at a good pace with a lot of activities in the past months. Congestion does not seem to be as serious as what had been anticipated, thanks in part to an aggressive campaign that included information on alternative routes for motorists. Still, it is recommended for the motorist to avoid the area and use other routes if possible as traffic can test one’s patience in this area.
Some of the photos were quite dark as it was already past 5pm when I took them with a cell phone camera. I tried to adjust the brightness in order to have clearer images.
Manila-bound approach to the Quezon Ave.-Araneta Ave. intersection where there are effectively 2 lanes available to traffic. It can be quite congested here during the regular weekdays as the original 5-lane section Quezon Ave. narrowed to 2 lanes due to the ongoing construction of the underpass. There used to be a pedestrian overpass at the intersection. This had to be dismantled to give way to the construction of the underpass. Remnants of the overpass remain in the area.
At the intersection, the remains of what was a pedestrian overpass can be still be seen. The overpass crossed both Quezon Ave. and Araneta Ave., allowing for pedestrians to walk across the intersection without conflict with motor vehicles below.
The intersection itself has not been excavated and it will be a “Herculean” task to manage traffic once this phase of the project is implemented. Both R-7 and C-3 are high volume roads and the MMDA and QC enforcers would have their hands full, and definitely more challenging than what they are contending with at present. This intersection will still be at-grade in the future and should feature a traffic signal to manage the remaining traffic movements as through traffic along Quezon Ave. will eventually flow continuously along the underpass.
A good thing for the project is the approaching school break after March 2012. Should construction proceed at the current pace (or even faster) they should be able to have the underpass operational by the time school opens in June 2012. The contractor should take advantage of the typically good weather in Metro Manila from January to May so as to finally relieve road users of the inconvenience caused by the project implementation. On another note, the underpass is similar to what was proposed for the case of C5-Kalayaan before the MMDA decided to turn that intersection into a showcase for their U-turn scheme, culminating in the construction of 2 U-turn overpasses in the area. The completion of the Quezon Ave.-Araneta Ave. underpass coupled with an effective traffic signal system setting at-grade may just prove the DPWH right in their pitch for the same intervention at C5-Kalayaan and revive discussions pertaining to a more effective solution to the congestion there.