Saturday, February 20, 2021

MRT Line 7 On Course for December 2022 Opening


Work on the MRT-7, another massive, game-changing, privately-funded infrastructure project of San Miguel Corporation (SMC), has crossed the halfway mark, with civil works now 51.73 percent completed, and electrical/mechanical (E&M) works 55.31 percent done.

“Our progress for the MRT-7 project as of January 2021 is at about 54 percent. We have already completed a significant amount of civil works, including the installation of bored piles, girders, foundational works on stations, and we have been installing rails or tracks. At the same time, E&M works have also advanced significantly,” said SMC president Ramon S. Ang.

Ang said that for the project’s elevated section, some 6.2 kilometers of the target 13.5 kilometers has been completed. For the at-grade sections, 4.8 kilometers. of the target 6.9 kilometers has been completed. Meanwhile, 1.5 kilometers out of the 1.9-kilometer tunnel portion is done.

“Compared to our recently-completed Skyway 3 project, which is one of the most difficult we’ve had to undertake because of changes to its alignment and the engineering solutions we’ve had to employ to mitigate right-of-way (ROW) problems, the MRT-7 project is actually more complex,” Ang related.

“Apart from complex construction work, MRT-7 construction involves a lot of mechanical and electrical work. There are so many systems to be integrated to ensure we can efficiently and safely run a large number of passenger trains to serve the public,” Ang explained.

Ang added that despite delays to construction and workforce limitations caused by the pandemic, work on the MRT-7 has continued at a steady pace, as part of SMC’s commitment to continue all its projects and investments, in order to generate jobs, boost economic growth, and help in the country’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Once complete, the MRT-7 project will make daily commutes from Quezon City to San Jose del Monte, Bulacan faster and easier. It will link up with MRT-3 and LRT-1, providing greater access and seamless travel.

It is also seen to spur economic growth in Bulacan, as businesses and residential developments are seen to further grow in the area, contributing to the decongestion of Metro Manila.

“Now that we’ve crossed the halfway mark, we’re expecting to reach a lot of major milestones for this project this year. This includes the construction of the stations, testing of various equipment in different countries, and the actual arrival of these equipment, including the first batch of trains,” Ang revealed.

Ang said that factory acceptance testing (FAT) of an initial six trains or 18 cars, is scheduled for April in South Korea. SMC purchased the trains from South Korea Hyundai Rotem, with the country’s national rail manufacturer, Korea Railroad Corporation (KORAIL), serving as its adviser.

If the trains pass the tests, which will be witnessed by KORAIL officials together with SMC and Department of Transportation (DOTr) representatives, the first batch of trains will arrive within the year.

More trains will then be delivered every month. A total of 36 trains or 108 cars are being procured by SMC for the project. The company said its depot will be capable of holding up to 150 trains for future capacity expansion, if needed.

Meanwhile, manufacturing of other important equipment, sourced from various countries, have also been completed, Ang said. These include ticket vending machines and automatic gates, with factory acceptance tests scheduled within the first quarter of this year.

Manufacturing and testing of communications systems have been also been completed. Initial batches of third rail equipment—responsible for delivering electrical power to the trains—and track works such as rails and fastening assemblies, have also been completed.

Various other railway operations equipment such those needed for automatic fare systems, communication systems, signaling systems, power supply systems, third rail, track works systems and rolling stock maintenance equipment, used for the maintenance of trains, are set to be delivered from various countries throughout the year.

“There is still a lot of work to be done. And on top of that, similar to Skyway 3, there are still many right-of-way (ROW) issues pending for the MRT-7 project. But we will continue working, we just keep on building and doing what we can in areas where we can work, so that we can finish this faster,” Ang said.

“Given our progress today, and all the major milestones we’re expecting this year and the next, I think we’re confident we can achieve full, complete operations by December next year, with our first test run scheduled for June next year. By then, I believe we would be recovering already from the impacts of COVID-19. Our economy will be on the way up, and people will be resuming their lives in the next normal. MRT-7 will be ready for them, to help make commutes faster, to boost our economy, and bring growth to more areas,” Ang said.

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