SMC, government break ground for P69.3 billion MRT-7

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — San Miguel Corp. (SMC) and the government, led by President Benigno Aquino III himself, on Wednesday (April 20) broke ground at the Quezon Memorial Circle for the Metro Rail Transit 7 (MRT-7).

The elevated railway that stretches from North Ave., Quezon City to San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, costs P69.3 billion, according to the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).

In a statement, SMC said it expects to complete the 14-station railway in three to four years. The project will be implemented by SMC Mass Rail Transit 7 Inc., which falls under its infrastructure subsidiary, San Miguel Holdings Inc. DOTC similarly said that the railway will be completed and operational by April 2020.

MRT-7 is expected to initially serve 350,000 daily. "During peak hours, MRT-7 will be able to accommodate 28,000 passengers per hour/per direction, scalable to 38,000," SMC said.

The DOTC expects the number to more than double once upgrades are made: "[U]ltimately 800,000 passengers per day will benefit from the project."

A 23-kilometer stretch of road will also be constructed as part of the project. The thoroughfare will start at the Balagtas Interchange of the North Luzon Expressway and end in an intermodal terminal in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan. San Miguel said that the road will provide provincial buses with an alternate route to San Jose and will help decongest EDSA.

The conglomerate will also build a depot in San Jose del Monte that will house a control center, administrative offices, warehouse and facilities for train cars.