NAIA Expressway to open in September

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The first segment of the expressway leading to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) will finally open next month, with full operations eyed for the year-end.

The road project— that has gone through several delays— will finally undergo safety inspections by the Department of Public Works and Highways. Road signs are being installed in the first segment of the NAIA Expressway that runs from Macapagal Boulevard to NAIA Terminals 1 and 2.

Public Works Secretary Mark Villar said the segment will be opened to motorists by the third week of September.

The second segment, meanwhile, will be operational in time for Christmas, Villar said. It connects the rest of the NAIA Expressway to Terminal 3, as well as the start of the Skyway network.

DPWH expects to open a segment of the expressway within the year. It will connect Macapagal Blvd. to NAIA Terminals 1 and 2.

"The President is committed to fast-tracking all our construction projects. We're going to work 24/7 so we can finish the NAIA Expressway immediately," Villar said in a briefing on Monday.

He admitted, "We know people are getting irritated. They come from the airport and they can barely get out. Or to get to the airport, they have to use the narrow, congested service roads."

The construction of the NAIA Expressway began in January 2014. The first segment should have been completed in March 2015, while the second segment was slated for this April.

However, the DPWH and its project partner, a unit of San Miguel Corp., ran into delays arising from right-of-way issues around the second segment of the NAIA Expressway.

Traffic around the airport terminals has worsened in recent years, with more cars on the road and flights becoming more frequent. The continued construction work on the expressway worsened traffic as well.

Villar assured traffic would soon be decongested once the NAIA Expressway is opened. DPWH studies show it would take just eight minutes to drive from the Skyway to NAIA Terminal 1 on the expressway -- a third of the current travel time of about 24 minutes.

The toll fee will likely be set at P35-45 for the first segment of the NAIA Expressway, Villar said. No figures were available for the second segment.

According to DPWH data, an estimated 80,000 people will benefit from the NAIA Expressway every day.