Third highway over Candaba swampland to be built soon–Gonzales

Published December 1, 2022, 1:43 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Expect a third highway alongside the two 5.3-kilometer viaducts crossing the Candaba swampland in Bulacan and Pampanga to be built in the coming months.

Pampanga 3rd district Rep. Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales Jr. (Facebook)

This was bared Wednesday, Nov. 30 by Deputy Speaker and Pampanga 3rd district Rep. Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales Jr., who was made privy to the plans of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) operator.

Gonzales said he was elated to hear of the operator’s intention to build a third viaduct or highway worth P8 billion that would complement the two nearly 50-year-old existing bridges, which are being repaired and retrofitted.

“The new road and the improvement of the present expressway will ensure the continued interconnectivity of Metro Manila and areas south of Luzon, on one hand, and central and northern Luzon, on the other,” he said.

He said aside from thousands of motorists and commuters, billions of pesos worth of goods are transported between the National Capital Region (NCR) and central and Northern Luzon through NLEX, of which the long elevated bridges across the 30-meter deep Candaba swamps are a major part.

“So safety issues arising from the two viaducts’ age and their constant use and heavy load are a real concern. I am glad that the expressway operator is addressing these,” he added.

The Pampanga lawmaker, a civil engineer by profession, pointed out that he had foreseen such issues in 2016, when he told the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry that a new viaduct had to be constructed.

In a consultative meeting with Gonzales, NLEX Corp. officials led by lawyer Romulo Quimbo Jr. revealed that the third highway would be built between the two existing northbound and southbound viaducts.

The new road would be composed of six lanes and construction is scheduled to start in the first quarter of 2023 and completed toward the end of 2024, they said.

They said they would implement a traffic scheme that would avoid inconvenience and disruptions on the part of motorists and commuters.

They further said the two viaducts are being repaired, improved and retrofitted so they would become “like new roadways”.

Quimbo said the plan is for the third highway to be used by cargo trucks and other heavy vehicles, while the existing spans would be limited to cars and lighter vehicles.

The operator would shoulder the estimated P8-billion cost of the new viaduct, he said.