The government is looking at two ways to mitigate the flooding problems along the North Luzon Expressway that caused heavy traffic during the last two typhoons to hit the country.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Monday approved a proposal to elevate a portion of the NLEX in Pampanga, then ordered the conduct of an extensive study on the proposed construction of an impounding system in the Candaba viaduct as a “long-term solution” to the flooding in the province.
“We’ll raise the NLEX to avoid what happened last time, and then we’ll look for possible alternative routes. Trucks that can withstand the flood can use the old expressway. Cars, on the other hand, can use the elevated ramp. So we’ll study that,” Mr. Marcos said during a situational briefing in Pampanga, some parts of which are still underwater.
The President said the bridge in San Simon will be raised to solve heavy traffic and avoid congestion during the rainy season.
Meanwhile, the water impounding system, once approved, will utilize at least 10 percent of the land mass in Candaba.
Last week, motorists passing through the San Simon northbound part of the Candaba Viaduct had to reduce their speed to about 10 kilometers per hour because of floods.
Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation president and former Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson committed that the flooding issue will be fixed.
“We are committing that we will solve the NLEX San Simon segment. We hope to be able to finish it in about three months,” Singson said.
The President underscored the need for the government and the public to prepare for the effects of climate change.
“We really need to prepare for climate change. The weather is changing, and is not like what it used to be,” he said.
“Everything we know about the weather is no longer applicable. The weather is changing. We are not going back to what we used to be. This is the reality of climate change.”
“I’m sorry. It’s really bad news and we all don’t want to deal with it, but we have to,” he added.
The DPWH, for its part, said it will conduct extensive dredging operations along the Pampanga and Porac rivers to protect residents living close to rivers and mitigate flooding along the portion of NLEX in San Simon.
DPWH Region III Director Roseller A. Tolentino said the dredging operations along the Pampanga River, the second largest river in Luzon, will benefit towns and municipalities of Porac, Guagua, and Lubao in Pampanga.