Why was EDSA called Highway 54 ?

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edsa highway 54



Why was EDSA formerly called Highway 54?


There were many hearsays as to what the real answer was such as the following :

Some people say it’s because EDSA is 54 kilometers to which no truth to the claim (or probably the government indicated 54 kilometers on the contract price but actually built 24 kilometers, pocketed the cost of the 20 kilometers (missing miles) ūüôā while some say because there were 53 other roads constructed before it.

According to Arch. Felino Palafox (asked by Tutubi at an Urban Planning talk sponsored by BAIPHIL some time ago), it was called Highway 54 mainly because it was built in 1954 and is generally 54 meters wide (but still Tutubi’s not convinced)

However this one came out in the comments section which has some truth in it: “The road was named Highway 54 to pay tribute to the men that built it – the 54th Army Engineering Brigade led by engineers Florencio Moreno and Osmundo Monsod. It was completed in 1940 (not in 1954) under the presidency of Pres. Manuel L. Quezon.”

However, here’s the truth of the matter :

Construction of what was then called the¬†North‚ÄďSouth Circumferential Road¬†began in the 1930s under President Manuel L. Quezon.¬†The construction team was led by engineers Florencio Moreno and Osmundo Monsod.

The road, starting from the North Diversion Road (today the North Luzon Expressway) and ending at the current Magallanes Interchange  with the South Luzon Expressway, was finished in 1940 shortly before the outbreak of World War II and the subsequent Japanese Occupation. After the independence of the Philippines from the United States in 1946, the road was renamed Avenida 19 de Junio (June 19 Avenue), after the birth date of national hero Jose Rizal.

In the 1950s, the avenue was renamed¬†Highway 54, because of the common misconception on that time that the avenue is 54¬†km long.¬†¬†Rizalists wanted the avenue’s name to remain 19 de Junio, while President Ramon Magsaysay¬†¬†wanted the avenue named after Rizal. Residents of Rizal Province¬†¬†(to which most parts of Metro Manila¬†¬†belonged until the 1970s) wanted the avenue to be named after a Rizale√Īo: the historian, jurist and scholar named Epifanio de los Santos y Cristobal. The Philippine Historical Committee (now the National Historical Commission of the Philippines), the Philippine Historical Association, the Philippine Library Association, Association of University and College Professors, the Philippine China Cultural Association, and the Philippine National Historical Society, led by fellow Rizale√Īos Eulogio Rodriguez Sr.¬†¬†and Juan Sumulong, supported the renaming of Highway 54 to Epifanio de los Santos Avenue.

On April 7, 1959, De los Santos’ birthday, Republic Act No. 2140 was passed, renaming the avenue to honor him.¬†¬†Rapid urbanization in the 1960s and 1970s, particularly after the annexation of several Rizal towns to the newly established National Capitol Region, marked the growth of the industrial centers along the road, and several other roads connected to the avenue, such as Ayala Avenue and McKinley Road in Makati.

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