Stakeholders await the opening of new projects in NLEX
Date Posted : February 23, 2017
Motorists, the business sector, the local government units and the transport sector are anticipating the opening of new expressway lanes at the NLEX.
The Manila North Tollways Corporation (MNTC), concessionaire of the NLEX, has poured approximately P2.6-billion in new investments to build 64 new lane-kilometers in order to ease traffic congestion in the section between Sta. Rita, Guiguinto, Bulacan and San Fernando City. When finished, expressway road capacity will be expanded from the existing 2x2 lanes to 3x3 lanes in each direction.
The new projects also include the construction of new expressway lanes on both sides of the 5-km long Candaba Viaduct. When completed, the road capacity of the Candaba Viaduct will be expanded for the first time since it was constructed in the '70s.
MNTC also built a new 2x2, 4-kilometer expressway in the Mabalacat City portion of the NLEX including two new bridges. This new project, which was completed in October last year, will henceforth segregate northbound and southbound motorists along separate carriageways and promote road safety.
With these new projects, MNTC hopes to encourage more travel convenience and improve public services along this key NLEX section that connects Metro Manila to the provinces in Central and Northern Luzon.
The tollways firm is waiting for the government approvals, through the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB), before the new projects are opened to the motoring public.
MNTC President and CEO Rodrigo Franco said there is an air of excitement among the motorists who stand to benefit from these new NLEX projects as they perceive positive developments upon completion, highlighting the hassle-free travel experience when portions of the new projects were temporarily opened last December for holiday travelers.
“As an advocate for countryside development and a main endorser of the new projects at the NLEX, the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (PamCham) expects the new expressway lanes to enhance travel convenience and promote growth of local businesses,” PamCham President Jess Nicdao noted.
The new NLEX projects were also seen to spur further rapid growth in the region according to Central Luzon Regional Development Council Chairman and Angeles City Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan. “This new infrastructure will facilitate more efficient transport of goods and services within the region thus help bring in more investments and boost tourism development,” he said.
Pamintuan believes that the immediate opening of the new expressway lanes between Bulacan and Pampanga will be a big boost to the Central Luzon’s economy, adding that the completion of the new infrastructure is parallel to the goal of the council to accelerate regional socio-economic development.
To anticipate the holiday travel surge in December last year, MNTC partially opened the new 4-kilometer northbound carriageway in Mabalacat City, Pampanga. This P235-million project, which included the new bridges at Bgy. Balem and Bgy. Quitanguil, have since enhanced traffic safety and made the city more accessible.
Mabalacat City Mayor Marino “Boking” Morales said during the inauguration that “the new road makes Mabalacat more accessible to potential investors and could increase the city's income.”
Included in the new NLEX projects are the installation of 800 expressway-standard LED road lighting between the Balagtas section all the way to San Fernando City. MNTC will light up an additional 33 kilometers along the NLEX in keeping with its commitment to promoting motorist safety.