MMDA to motorists: Plan trips ahead of time to avoid traffic jam during Holy Week exodus

By , on March 20, 2016

EDSA (Wikipedia photo)
EDSA (Wikipedia photo)

MANILA – In anticipation of the exodus of motorists going to the provinces for the Lenten season, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) advised motorists to plan their trips ahead to avoid getting stuck in a traffic gridlock.

MMDA made the statement in connection to the Department of Public Works and Highways’ (DPWH) conduct of repair and reblocking of some parts of Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) during the Holy Week.

The road works will start at 2:00 a.m. on Maundy Thursday up to 2:00 p.m. on Easter Sunday.

The following roads which will undergo repair and reblocking during Holy Week are:

Northbound lane between Madison St. and Ortigas Avenue

EDSA Southbound lane between Ortigas flyover and Boni Avenue

Motorists are advised to take other routes because many areas will be reblocked on the said locations.

To ensure a smooth traffic during the observance of the Holy Week, Crisanto Saruca, MMDA Traffic Discipline Office head, said the agency will reactivate its traffic management plan under the Oplan Metro Alalay Semana Santa (Oplan MASS) 2016.

Saruca said the agency will reactivate the plan starting Holy Wednesday until Easter Monday.

The agency expects the peak of the exodus of passengers going outside Metro Manila on Holy Wednesday while the departure of returning motorists to the metropolis is expected to peak by Easter Sunday.

Saruca said they will deploy a total of 3,073 personnel to help man the traffic, especially along major thoroughfares such as EDSA and roadways leading to and from transportation hubs such as provincial bus terminals, airports and seaports.

He also noted that MMDA traffic enforcers and quick response groups will also be manning transport terminals, airports, Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Metro Rail Transit (MRT) stations, choke points, domestic airports, churches and even pilgrimage sites.

Aside from traffic enforcers, the agency’s roadside emergency group will also be put on standby alert to provide emergency services and assistance to motorists.

Saruca said the MASS 2016 includes the deployment of additional traffic enforcers along major thoroughfares and near bus terminals and roadways leading to airports, seaports as well as exit points such as North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX).

There are about 1,823 major and minor churches all over Metro Manila, MMDA said.

Rescue groups will also be deployed to render assistance to motorists and secure the safety of commuters and even pedestrians.

Motorists and the general public can also call the agency’s Metrobase hotline 136 for periodic traffic updates and request for assistance. The MMDA’s Facebook and Twitter account will also be open 24/7 during the Holy Week to respond to inquiries.

The implementation of the Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program (UVVRP) commonly known as “number-coding” will be lifted on Holy Wednesday only for provincial buses.

Saruca said they decided to exempt provincial buses from the number coding on the said day due to the expected huge volume of passengers in bus terminals in Cubao and Pasay who will spend the holidays in the provinces.

He added the move is to ensure that there are enough public utility buses to serve passengers during the Holy Week.