The groundbreaking ceremony for the extension of the LRT Line 2 from Santolan, Pasig City to Masinag Junction in Antipolo City was held last June 9, 2015. This marks the beginning of the construction of the much anticipated and much delayed extension of the line to what was supposed to be part of the first phase of Line 2. I say supposed because most experts believe the current line should have terminated at Masinag from the start instead of at Santolan where the depot is located. Masinag had much more sense many years ago as it was a good staging point for possible extensions to Cogeo, Antipolo City proper or Marikina City. The areas along the Marcos Highway corridor beyond Masinag alone have experienced tremendous growth especially after the floods of Ondoy (Typhoon Ketsana), which submerged much of the Marikina Valley including Pasig, Cainta and lower Antipolo.
Traffic cones and signs guide motorists away from the inner lanes of Marcos Highway.
Two lanes from each side of Marcos Highway at the current end of the Line 2 were appropriated in addition to the median for the groundbreaking ceremony.
The stage is set – the stage for the ceremony is set under the viaduct with these barriers practically shielding the participants from curious passers-by (usyoso). Regardless, the event cause congestion along the highway.
Of course, that was the groundbreaking ceremony. As of today, there’s no sign yet of the contractor, DMCI, fully mobilizing and already reserving the inner lanes of Marcos Highway for the construction of the viaduct and stations. If the current works for the NAIA Expressway in the airport area is to be a reference, then severe traffic congestion is to be expected along the highway and this will extend beyond the actual construction site from Santolan to Masinag. As such, the public will experience inconvenience for the next so many months or perhaps couple of years (or more if there were delays). However, I believe that once the line is operating all the way to Masinag, it will help to ultimately decongest Marcos Highway and Aurora Boulevard and a lot of people will benefit from the improved travel times.
Incidentally, the term LRT is actually a misnomer here because among the 3 operational rail mass transit lines (I am excepting the PNR Commuter Line here.) in Metro Manila, Line 2 is actually a heavy rail system. Perhaps the government should already correct this by simply referring to Line 2 as ‘LRTA Line 2’ or renaming LRTA to reflect its nature as a transit authority that should not be limited to light rail only.