MANILA -- The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) unveiled on Friday the 4.5-kilometer Laguna Lake Highway which also provides lanes for bikers and joggers.

It’s the first in the country to have a three-meter wide space for bikers and joggers.

DPWH has expanded the highway’s length with an additional 1.3 kilometers, reducing travel time from Bicutan in Taguig City to Taytay, Rizal by 30 minutes from the current one hour.

Public Works Secretary Mark Villar said the department will incorporate pedestrian infrastructure and green architecture in the creation of key infrastructure projects.

“In a study by World Health Organization, 19 percentof those who die in road accidents in the Philippines are pedestrians,” according to Villar.

“In building the road network in the Philippines, it is important that we also put in place more pedestrian infrastructure. This will not only happen in Luzon but also in Visayas and Mindanao,” he added.

Among those who graced the opening of the additional new concrete paved segment of Laguna Lake Highway in Taguig City include Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade, Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) president Vince Dizon, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano and Taguig Rep. Pia Cayetano.

For his part, DOTr Secretary Tugade said the construction of the bike lanes along the highway will provide a healthy option for bike enthusiasts.

Costing PHP 140.33 million, the 1.3-kilometer additional two-lane road is constructed under the Phase II of Laguna Lake Highway Project which also covers provision for plant strip, sidewalk, turn out, and drainage works is in addition to about 3.2 kilometers concrete paved segment earlier completed.

The highway will ensure safety of motorists, bikers, pedestrians, as well as protection of residents from backflow of lakewater.

The Laguna Lake Highway which will connect the towns of Rizal province to the eastern corridor of Manila is expected to help ease traffic congestion in Metro Manila.

It is likewise seen to provide Taguig City a new growth corridor and attract tourists with added healthy features like the bike lane.

Phase III of the project, which covers an additional length of 4.3 kilometers, is expected to be finished by August 2018. (PNA)