The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is eyeing an ambitious plan to build an elevated highway along Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) in a bid to address traffic congestion in the metropolis.

Senator Franklin Drilon, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee deliberating the proposed P125 billion budget of the DPWH, on Monday welcomed the plan, saying it is the “ultimate solution to the hell that we go through every time we pass by EDSA.”

The project, Drilon said, will cost approximately P50 billion and will consist of three lanes each for the north bound and south bound running from Roxas Boulevard in Pasay City to Balintawak in Quezon City.

“This is a total of approximately 22 kilometers. The DPWH is already starting the technical evaluation,” said Drilon.

DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson said they are still evaluating whether to build an elevated expressway or a tunnel, but the “inclination” is to construct an elevated highway.

Another consideration is to build a SMART (Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel), which would specifically be used as a reservoir for floodwater, Singson added.

“If this is just a road tunnel that we are looking at, definitely the elevated expressway is going to be more efficient. But if we want to use the tunnel as a SMART to bring in all the excess water that comes into Metro Manila, then we are trying to assess whether it is more efficient to do a joint smart tunnel or just an elevated expressway,” said Singson.

Drilon said funding for the project is still being ironed out, with the Japan International Cooperation Agency considering funding the project through official development assistance or through a partnership with the private sector.

“This will be started during the term of President Aquino. This will be sectionalized so that while the ambition is to finish this before six years, the reality is that we will be able to finish sections of this project,” said Drilon.