NLEX Corp., the operator of North Luzon Expressway, has announced plans to build a diamond-type interchange in the Mexico-San Fernando City section of the highway in Pampanga.
Officials of the company made the announcement in an inter-agency consultative meeting presided over by Deputy Speaker and Pampanga Rep. Aurelio Gonzales Jr. at the House of Representatives recently.
Officials said the plan is to expand the existing Mexico exit/entry toll plaza, which is located on the eastern part of the expressway, into a “full diamond interchange” that would have a separate toll station on the San Fernando City or western side.
They said they would also interconnect the interchange to the Aquino byway extension that would link Mexico and San Fernando.
The byway extension is a convergence road project of Gonzales.
The lawmaker welcomed the NLEX operator’s plan, saying the envisioned complete interchange would decongest vehicular traffic on both the eastern and western parts of the highway, especially the San Fernando City side, including the old MacArthur Highway.
“It will hasten access to the expres way by thousands of motorists and cargo truck drivers coming from San Fernando, Angeles and Bacolor who currently are using the Mexico entry/exit,” he said.
“They would not have to cross the highway through a bridge to access the present toll plaza on the eastern side if a diamond interchange that includes a separate toll station on the San Fernando side were built,” Gonzales said.
NLEX Corp. officials also announced that they would start road widening next year that would add two lanes on both the northbound and southbound sections of the expressway, from San Fernando City to Mabalacat town.
They said the widening would affect several local bridges crossing the highway, including five in the Mexico-San Fernando area.
Gonzales offered to relocate and improve the five bridges in his district, using his priority development assistance fund allocation, to expedite the expansion of the expressway.
However, he said there are three bridges that are part of NLEX which are no longer passable due to siltation caused by flooding and the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991.
“These will have to be rehabilitated by NLEX Corp. so they would become passable again to motorists and residents of Mexico and San Fernando,” he said.