City of San Fernando—Construction and completion of three major road projects are in full swing and would be finished ahead of the completion target date, the North Luzon Expressway management announced Wednesday.
These projects are the Subic Freeport Expressway (SFEX) Capacity Expansion, Candaba Viaduct Upgrade, and NLEX Connector ― all aimed at improving the mobility and safety of motorists.
“These infrastructure works are intended to further improve traffic flow and connectivity, as well as promote road safety for hundreds of thousands of motorists using these critical arteries in Central and Northern Luzon,” said NLEX Corporation President and General Manager J. Luigi L. Bautista in a statement.
The P1.6-billion SFEX Capacity Expansion Project is now 92% done and slated for completion by the first quarter of 2021.
Once finished, the new and expanded SFEX will complement Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority’s (SBMA) infrastructure program, accommodate the growing number of traffic while promoting road safety, and most especially, facilitate passage for truckers and merchants delivering essential goods in and out of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.
Works on the 8.2-km expressway include the addition of two expressway lanes and construction of two bridges and a new tunnel that will increase road capacity from one lane in each direction to two lanes in each direction.
It also involves the installation of expressway-standard LED lighting for safer night driving and the raising of elevation of the Maritan Highway-Rizal Highway-Tipo Road junction for better flood management.
Recently, NLEX temporarily opened to the public the new SFEX road, which is constructed beside the existing SFEX carriageway. It is available until January 15, from 6 am to 6 pm. Outside of those times, from 6:01 pm to 5:59 am, NLEX will resume its roadwork to avoid inconveniencing the public.
NLEX also continues its series of upgrades on the 5-km Candaba Viaduct to maintain its long-term serviceability and ensure the safety and comfort of motorists.
Engineering studies show that aside from the usual wear and tear over the years, the passage of overloaded trucks on the viaduct have damaged several link slabs or the concrete components that connect two bridge deck spans.
Built in the 1970s, the Candaba Viaduct has served as a vital link between the Metro Manila, and Central and North Luzon road corridor.
Upgrading and rehabilitation works are needed to keep the bridge safe for everyone and make sure that transport of people and goods will be timely and unhampered, NLEX Corp. said.
At the close of 2020, NLEX reported finishing the replacement of 13 link slabs on the southbound portion of the Candaba Viaduct. Around 12 link slabs more on the southbound segment are up for replacement this year to further strengthen the bridge.
The tollway company is also optimistic that Section 1 of the NLEX Connector Project, which connects NLEX to Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 near the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) in Sta. Mesa, Manila, should be completed by the last quarter of 2021.
The project is on track, and is currently at 16% completion. Work on the 8-km elevated expressway from the new Caloocan Interchange, traversing Blumentritt and España, involves three junctions at C3 Road in Caloocan; España, Manila; and PUP.
Upon completion, Bautista said this infrastructure will reduce travel time from NLEX to SLEX (and vice versa) from two hours to just 20 minutes, cut drive time from Clark in Pampanga to Calamba, Laguna from approximately three hours to one hour and 40 minutes.
It would improve connectivity between the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and Clark International Airport to the benefit of at least 35,000 vehicles per day.
“These three major road projects are essential to the country’s economic growth, as these add to the commercial development and economic viability of several cities located in those areas. This is in line with our country’s ambition, and NLEX’s vision, toward nation-building,” Bautista concluded.