MRT-7 Right-Of-Way concerns inevitably delay full operation to 2027-28

Reports have it that the MRT-7 has suffered yet another delay. Given right-of-way (ROW) concerns, specifically in the area of the Bulacan segment, the full operation of the entire Metro Rail Transit Line 7 has been pushed back to as far as 2027, or worse, 2028. It’s not all bad news, though. Here’s what we know so far.

Majority of MRT-7 stations planned to operate ahead of Bulacan ROW resolution

Dotr Commonwealth Mrt-7 Delay Inline 01 Min

Construction of the MRT-7 has continued at a bit of a snail’s pace, but progress has been made. However, it has come up on a snag regarding right-of-way issues in the San Jose del Monte, Bulacan of the railway.

“There are oppositions there, they are saying it will cause heavy traffic flow. I actually had a meeting with the local government because we are really pushing for immediate resolution to the RoW issues,” DOTr Secretary Jaime Bautista said on the matter.

The local government was said to have requested to divert the station to a different location.

“Because the area is too narrow, there is opposition from building owners. They provided us with options which we are going to study. We will study (the options provided). We are not in a hurry because our target is really to operate up to the Lagro station by 2025,” Bautista added.

Once these ROW issues are resolved, the Bulacan station will commence operation between 2027 and 2028.

Dotr Commonwealth Mrt-7 Delay Inline 02 Min

MRT-7 has a total of 14 stations laid out, namely: Quezon North Avenue Joint Station, Quezon Memorial Circle, University Avenue, Tandang Sora, Don Antonio, Batasan, Manggahan, Doña Carmen, Regalado, Mindanao Avenue, Quirino, Sacred Heart, Tala, and San Jose del Monte.

However, given the current issues, Bautista was quoted as saying “For the MRT-7, we are looking at operating the Quezon City leg by the last quarter of 2025, meaning the portion from Quezon Avenue. [The one] from North Avenue to Lagro. … But the Bulacan part will not be completed by 2025 because [the MRT-7] has 14 stations. We’re hoping to operate by at least up to its 12th station by December of 2025. … Its 13th station is expected to be operational a year after.”

Sometime in 2024, the Department of Transportation announced that MRT-7 will begin operations next year.

Dotr Commonwealth Mrt-7 Delay Inline 03 Min

Financed by San Miguel Corporation, MRT-7 will be a 23-kilometer commuter rail system that will operate on a 25-year concession agreement with the Philippine government. It is seen to be able to transport up to 300,000 passengers everyday in its first year and up to 850,000 by its 12th year of operation. In 2023, SMC was able to secure a PHP 100B loan to further finance and hasten its construction.

For those living in the northern parts of Quezon City, some respite from the traffic stemming from the MRT-7’s construction may be in sight. However, the delay of its full operation is a different problem altogether. Despite this, perhaps we can all be thankful that it can finally serve its purpose after the many delays it has encountered in the past years. 2025 cannot come sooner.

Of course, that’s if no further problems and issues develop in the coming months.

Mikko Juangco
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