Despite a number of accidents and setbacks that delayed its completion, the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 Project (MMSS3) was partially opened to motorists last Dec. 29, with San Miguel Corp. (SMC) president and chief operating officer (COO) Ramon S. Ang himself announcing the good news on Facebook.
“While we are still completing some finishing works until we officially open on January 14, I invite motorists to try it out. It’s free for a month so that more can experience seamless travel between north and south, and to and from major cities like Makati, Manila and Quezon City,” the announcement said. Initially, only four lanes was opened to the public. Full access to all seven lanes will be granted once the finishing work is done.
The Skyway Stage 3 is one of the largest and most expensive Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects of the current administration. It’s essentially an elevated bypass road that runs from South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) in Buendia, Makati to the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) in Balintawak, Quezon City.
The P44.86 billion PPP project spans a length of 18-km and is divided into five sub-sections:
- Section 1: Buendia, Makati to Quirino Avenue to Nagtahan (3.76km)
- Section 2: Nagtahan to Aurora Blvd./Ramon Magsaysay Avenue (6.01km)
- Section 2A: Nagtahan to Tomas Claudio to PUP, Sta. Mesa (2.08) and 2B: Tomas Claudio to Ramon Magsaysay Ave/San Juan River (3.93km)
- Section 3: Ramon Magsaysay Avenue to Quezon Avenue (2.71km)
- Section 4: Quezon Avenue to Balintawak, Quezon City (4.46km)
- Section 5: Balintawak, Quezon City to NLEX Footbridge (1.89km)
YouTuber dmitrivalencia, an infrastructure buff who has been closely following the developments of the project, did a test-drive and initial impressions video on his YouTube channel.
The actual driving video was uploaded in full and without edits or cuts so viewers can fully gauge the benefits of the elevated toll road. With free-flowing traffic, the end-to-end drive from Buendia to Balintawak only took him a total of 20 minutes.
The video also noted the locations of seven ramps that motorists can now use when hopping on to and exiting the Skyway Stage 3:
- Buendia Northbound on-ramp and Southbound off-ramp
- Plaza Dilao Southbound on-ramp
- Quezon Avenue Northbound and Southbound 0n- and off-ramp
- Balintawak Northbound off-ramp and Southbound on-ramp.
The long-awaited opening of Skyway Stage 3 was hampered by a number of setbacks last year, particularly the Pandacan warehouse fire in February that destroyed a 300-meter section and the work stoppage due to the COVID-19 lockdowns in March. In previous years, various issues on road right-of-way also pushed back the project’s timeline.