New NLEX-MacArthur Highway link in full swing as traffic volume increases
An increasing number of motorists are now using Segment 9 of the NLEX Harbor Link road project which is now operating in full swing following its soft opening on March 19.
Segment 9 is a new 2.42-kilometer tollway that links NLEX from the Smart Connect Interchange to MacArthur Highway in Karuhatan, Valenzuela City. It is the first component of NLEX Harbor Link Project, the ambitious road expansion project of the Manila North Tollways Corporation (MNTC), builder and concessionaire of NLEX, that aims to bring the expressway more accessible to motorists.
“Traffic volume has steadily risen from about 1,000 to 7,000 vehicles a day as more and more motorists discover the convenience and shorter travel times this new segment makes possible,” Rodrigo E. Franco, MNTC president and CEO, said.
Built at a cost of P1.59 billion, Segment 9 provides motorists on NLEX with a more direct route to the Caloocan-Malabon-Navotas-Valenzuela (CAMANAVA) district as well as the Port Area where Manila’s premier harbors are located.
“Vehicles going to CAMANAVA via NLEX can now take the west-bound ramp of the Smart Connect Interchange, proceed through Segment 9 and take MacArthur Highway instead of exiting at the Valenzuela Interchange and passing through the congested Maysan Road,” Franco pointed out. “Vehicles going to the Port Area can take the same route and pass by Monumento in Caloocan instead of exiting at Balintawak and going through traffic-heavy EDSA.”
Meanwhile, an increasing number of motorists have also been using the Segment 9-Smart Connect Interchange link as a traffic-free “short cut” from Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City to Karuhatan, Valenzuela and vice versa.
MNTC is projecting traffic volume to reach 27,000 vehicles daily during the new tollway’s initial year.
Segment 9 is expected to greatly facilitate the movement of people and goods between Central and North Luzon and Metro Manila, particularly the CAMANAVA district as well as the Port Area.
“By linking NLEX and MacArthur Highway, we foresee increased economic activities in these areas since it will improve transport logistics through the more efficient movement of trucks,” Franco said.
The economic benefits Segment 9 will bring are expected to increase further when Segment 10 of the NLEX Harbor Link is finished in late 2016. Segments 9 and 10 will be linked via the NLEX Karuhatan Valenzuela Interchange. Stretching 5.65 kilometers long, Segment 10 will largely be an elevated expressway, directly connecting NLEX and MacArthur Highway to Manila’s Port Area. Segment 10 will primarily cater to port traffic and is envisioned to significantly speed up and reduce the cost of the transport of goods from Central and Northern Luzon to the country’s premier ports.
“When Segments 9 and 10 become operational, the country’s port congestion problem will be a thing of the past,” Franco noted.
Motorists using Segment 9 pay upon entry the same toll fees as those currently collected in the existing NLEX Open System. Toll fees are P45 for Class 1 vehicles (cars. jeepneys, sport utility vehicles and motorcycles). P113 for Class 2 vehicles (buses, light trucks and cars and jeeps with trailers or carry high loads on their roofs), and P136 for Class 3 vehicles (vehicles with more than two axles and are higher than seven feet).