Now here's a winning idea. House Deputy Majority Leader Roman Romulo has suggested constructing a Stormwater Management And Road Tunnel, or SMART, underneath EDSA to aid both in vehicular traffic and to deal with flooding.

Romulo urged the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to study the feasibility of building under EDSA a dual-purpose tunnel patterned after Kuala Lumpur's SMART storm drainage and road structure.

"The only option left is to construct a new motorway beneath EDSA, since it can no longer be widened, and we already have the Metro Rail Transit line over the main road," said Romulo, who represents the lone district of Pasig City in Congress.

Romulo was reacting to the DPWH's plan, bared in a congressional budget hearing, to build either an elevated highway over EDSA, or a tunnel below it, to relieve traffic.

Malaysia put together its 9.7-kilometer SMART, a key national project, at a cost of $515 million, or around P22 billion at the current exchange rate, according to Romulo.

"Assembled over four years, their SMART is basically a motorway and stormwater tunnel in one that could be duplicated here," he said.

Under normal conditions, Romulo said the two-channel tunnel serves as a motorway for light vehicles.

During the wet season, he said the tunnel has two modes. In the first mode, with light rainfall, some floodwater may be diverted into the lower bypass channel, while the upper section remains open to motor vehicle passage.

In the second mode, in the event of extreme storms, the upper channel is totally closed to all motor vehicle traffic and automated water-tight gates are opened to divert floodwaters.

Once established as workable, he said the SMART project could be among the ventures lined up for implementation under the administration's public-private partnership (PPP) strategy.

SOURCE: House of Representative, Republic of the Philippines