SMC’s 19.37-km PAREX project gets gov’t nod

San Miguel Corporation (SMC) announced on Tuesday that the government has approved its proposed Pasig River Expressway (PAREX) project.

First proposed more than a year ago, the 19.37-kilometer, six-lane elevated road will run along the banks of the Pasig River from Radial Road 10 in tManila to C-6 road, also known as the future South East Metro Manila Expressway (SEMME) in Taguig.

In a statement, SMC said that the project will be the “first privately-funded road network in the country that combines sustainability features with the functionality of a safe and efficient transport infrastructure that the country is sorely lacking in.”

“This will be an inclusive, user-centered infrastructure that will integrate various modes of transportation beyond cars. It will have dedicated bike lanes, walkways, a bus rapid transit system, among others” SMC president Ramon S. Ang said.

He added that with the company’s P2-B Pasig River rehabilitation initiative, it is looking to expand water transport through ferry boats that will link people to cities along the waterfronts of Metro Manila – including Laguna Lake, Pasig River, Manila Bay, Marikina River, among others.

Considered biologically dead and long a symbol of urban pollution in the Philippines, the river now stands to become part of a master-planned urban redevelopment project, which will also be fully funded by SMC.

Following government’s approval, Ang disclosed that SMC is tapping the firm of internationally-renowned architect, environment planner, and green urbanism advocate Arch. Felino Palafox Jr. to help in building the PAREX project.

“Palafox, acknowledged as the country’s top green urban planner, brings with him decades of experience master-planning some 1,700 projects in 45 countries,” SMC said.

“Together with Palafox and Associates, we will build what will be the country’s first sustainable infrastructure, one that will not just be ‘green’, but will have multiple uses and direct environmental, social, and economic benefits to Filipinos,” Ang said.

“PAREX will also be for pedestrians and cyclists. It will not just be for motorized transportation and convenience, but also for maintaining our health and well-being. It will not just ‘beautify’ the surroundings–it will rehabilitate the Pasig River and inspire urban renewal in Metro Manila,” Ang added.

The PAREX will have three major segments: Segment 1 will be from R-10 to Plaza Azul, Manila; Segment 2 from Pandacan to C-5, and Segment 3 from C-5 to C6. PAREX will also connect and utilize a 2.7-km. portion of the new Skyway Stage 3 from Nagtahan to Plaza Azul.

Ang said PAREX will finally complete the long-envisioned north-south-east-west expressway connectivity for the region. With the opening of the Skyway 3 earlier this year, the Skyway system now serves as the seamless link between north and south Metro Manila.

Once operational, PAREX will serve as the east-west connection, linking up with Skyway 3 and SEMME making virtually every major city in Metro Manila accessible via expressway.

“SMC will fully shoulder the P95-billion cost to build PAREX, with no taxpayer or government money used,” the company said.

SMC said that PAREX will be purposely-built around green architecture and engineering principles, with sustainability as its key driver.

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