New COVID-19 restrictions reset LRT-2 East Extension inauguration

MANILA – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has decided to reset the formal inauguration of the LRT-2 East Extension Project from its original schedule on 26 April to 23 June 2021. The schedule adjustment was made following recent developments in the country’s COVID-19 situation despite the project already being substantially complete.

Instead of a formal inauguration, an operational trial run will be conducted on 26 April 2021.

DOTr Undersecretary for Railways TJ Batan said that following a railway sector meeting held prior to the Holy Week, it was decided to reset the inauguration date to protect the health and safety of rail workers and the riding public.

Moreover, foreign rail experts who are necessary in the final stages of installation, testing, and commissioning works for the project have been unable to report for work or enter the Philippines due to stringent restrictions being enforced.

Recently, stricter preventive measures have been enforced, placing Metro Manila and its nearby provinces under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) bubble due to the surge of recorded COVID-19 cases.

“Nakakalungkot man pong isipin pero nakita natin na patuloy na tumataas ang bilang ng mga tinatamaan ng COVID-19. As much as we would like to open the project earlier, kailangan pong unahin ang kalusugan at kapakanan ng ating mga rail workers at mananakay. Excited po tayo na makitang matatapos na itong long-delayed na proyekto na nagumpisa pa nuong 2012, pero mahalaga din po na lahat tayo ay ligtas, malusog, at higit sa lahat, buhay,” Usec Batan pointed out.

As of 28 February 2021, the LRT-2 East Extension Project has an overall progress rate of 96.51%, while the construction phase is at 94.03%.

Final stages of installation, testing, and commissioning for the extension line’s Overhead Catenary System (OCS), power systems, and signaling were affected by recent COVID-19 restrictions, and will be completed before inauguration.

LRT-2’s new stations, the Marikina Station and Antipolo Station, will serve commuters from Recto, Manila going to Masinag, Antipolo, and back.

The project is expected to cut travel time between Manila and Antipolo from the previous three (3) hours by bus or jeepney, to only 40 minutes.

Once fully operational, the East Extension line will increase LRT-2’s capacity by 80,000 passengers per day.