MANILA – Despite the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) imposed in Metro Manila and four nearby provinces due to surge of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar has expressed optimism that the construction of 3.9-kilometer Sucat-Alabang Skyway extension project will be finished this year.

“Together with concessionaire San Miguel Corporation (SMC), we are targeting completion of the northbound segment by this second quarter while the southbound segment is being fast-tracked for delivery on or before the fourth quarter as part of our goal,” Villar said in a statement on Tuesday.

He said the Skyway extension from main line toll plaza in Sucat, Parañaque to South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) in Susana Heights near the Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway will accelerate trips to and from Southern Luzon to Metro Manila, Central, and Northern Luzon.

Villar said travel time from the Skyway main line toll plaza in Sucat to Susana Heights in SLEX will soon be reduced “by around 50 percent.”

He said the additional three lanes going to the north and two lanes going to the south being constructed as part of the extension project will provide motorists a direct connection to Skyway 1 and 2 and the recently-opened Skyway Stage 3.

The project also includes widening the Skyway Alabang Toll Plaza to accommodate more motorists both from northbound and southbound directions.

Last Sunday, President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-IED) to place Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal under ECQ from March 29 to April 4 to contain the rising Covid-19 cases.

The IATF-EID is set to meet on April 3 to decide whether to extend the ECQ. (PNA)