NLEX: Building of 3 major roads continue

Published January 7, 2021, 5:00 AM

by Emmie V. Abadilla

This year, NLEX Corporation continues building its three major road projects – Subic Freeport Expressway (SFEX) Capacity Expansion, Candaba Viaduct Upgrade and NLEX Connector.

“These will improve traffic flow and connectivity, as well as promote road safety for hundreds of thousands of motorists in Central and Northern Luzon,” according to NLEX Corporation President and General Manager J. Luigi L. Bautista.

Notably, the P1.6 billion SFEX Capacity Expansion Project is now 92 per cent 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)’s infrastructure program, accommodate the growing traffic and deliveries of 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 the new SFEX road beside the existing SFEX carriageway.

It is available to the public until January 15, from 6:00 am to 6:00 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.

The usual wear and tear over the years, on top of the passage of overloaded trucks on the Viaduct, damaged several link slabs – the concrete components that connect two bridge deck spans.

Built in the 1970s, the Candaba Viaduct linked the Metro Manila, Central and North Luzon road corridor.

At the end of 2020, NLEX replaced 13 link slabs on the southbound portion of the Candaba Viaduct.

Around 12 more link slabs on the southbound segment have to be replaced this year to 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 16 per cent complete.

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.

When finished, this road will reduce travel time from NLEX to SLEX (and vice versa) from two hours to 20 minutes, cut drive time from Clark in Pampanga to Calamba, Laguna from three hours to one hour and 40 minutes, and 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,” Bautista underscored.

“They add to the commercial development of several cities, in line with our country’s ambition, and NLEX’s vision toward nation-building.”