Photos and videos of yesterday’s Carmageddon approaching the Skyway and SLEX’s Bicutan section made the rounds yesterday. With non-stop rain, flooding was to be expected in certain parts of Metro Manila. No one could have prepared for what happened at the At-Grade Bicutan area yesterday, though. With streaming flood waters (yes, there was an actual current!), traffic was backed up a long way. A very long way. SMC O&M has since released an apology to the public.
Management of Skyway, San Miguel Corporation O&M, says that flooding was “out of their control”
As sad as it is, flooding is very common given a strong and long enough downpour. The area involved in yesterday’s SLEX/Skyway At-Grade flooding was not normal, though, according to San Miguel Corporation O&M, and they have issued a lengthy apology and explanation to the public. It reads as follows:
We would like to express our sincerest apologies to motorists affected by the heavy flooding at the Skyway At Grade (ground level) Bicutan in Parañaque City following continuing moderate to heavy rains since 6pm of Wednesday, July 12 until today, Thursday, July 13 resulting in heavy traffic on both directions of the expressway.
Historically, this portion of the Skyway System has remained flood-free and we have consistently strived to maintain a smooth and reliable traffic flow for our valued users. Our maintenance teams conduct regular inspections at the drainage system to remove all obstructions such as sludge and garbage.
But over the past few months, the rise in floodwaters at the carriageway has become evident.
These incidents were primarily due to a drainage system problem outside of the Skyway system, which we traced in February this year, due to ongoing construction works in the area that are unrelated to our operations and outside our direct control.
Since then we have been in constant coordination with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and other government and private sector stakeholders in the area to find a way to address the issue together.
In fact, we lent some of our equipment to help drain floodwater faster and deployed our maintenance teams to siphon off water from the carriageway.
One of the stakeholders in the area is also currently working on the portion of the affected drainage system within their property, with the contractor committing to finish the outfall this month.
We are hopeful that this corrective action will restore the smooth flow of floodwaters to the nearby creek and put an end to the flooding at Skyway At-Grade Bicutan, which has disrupted the traffic flow and greatly inconvenienced our riding public.
In the meantime, we will continue to work with all involved stakeholders in the area to resolve the issue in the soonest possible time and ensure efficient and safe traffic flow on the expressway.
The flooding was so bad that even heavy trucks found the stretch unpassable. While videos of the resulting chaos can readily be found online, proof of this was one that showed what looked to be a medium truck carrying a tanker actually being swept away by the flood current. We all know that that’s not a good sign, and it’s most prudent to just stop and wait for the waters to subside.
All the vehicles who did so had no choice and traffic was backed up for a very long stretch, and for an even longer time. The MMDA Flood Control and Sewerage Management Office brought help, though, and deployed four floating pumps each with a 50-meter discharge capacity. It took some time, but in the long run, it was helpful enough to allow the flood to recede.
The weather today is much better compared to yesterday, but reports still indicate the possibility of a rainy weekend ahead. Were any of you, our dear readers, caught in yesterday’s floods; not just in the SLEX/Skyway area, but in other parts of the Metro? We hope not.
That said, drive safely out there, everyone! And we hope that those who manage our roads, tollways, and city flood control will keep a step or two ahead to avoid this in the future.