NLEX Corporation president and general manager Luigi Bautista reported the completion of 12 significant projects in NLEX-SCTEX in 2021 and announced 2022 expansion plans for the tollway company — all intended to improve travel safety and convenience of motorists.
In spite of the challenges brought by the ongoing health crisis, the NLEX Corporation continued to be productive and delivered its commitment to help decongest traffic and boost customer service through its infrastructure developments and enhancements.
Bautista welcomed 2022 with optimism, sharing the expansion plans consisting of big-ticket projects that are set for commencement and completion this year.
Looking back at the accomplishments, Bautista said that among the major projects completed last year were the expansion of Subic Freeport Expressway (SFEX), upgrade of link slabs at Candaba Viaduct Southbound, and the rehabilitation of Meycauayan and Bigaa bridges in Bulacan.
A total of 16.4 new lane kilometers, two new bridges, and a new tunnel were constructed in SFEX to accelerate business activities and facilitate the flow of goods and services between the economic zones in Clark and Subic. At the southbound portion of the Candaba Viaduct, more than 10 bridge link slabs were replaced with a pot-bearing system to restore the driving comfort of motorists.
The tollway company also completed the replacement of girders and slabs of the 45-meter Meycauayan bridge and the 64-meter Bigaa bridge to strengthen the structures as these were built in the 1960s.
Over 1,300 roadway lights from Balagtas, Bulacan to San Fernando City, Pampanga, a stretch of 33 kilometers, were replaced with brighter lights to make it easier for drivers to safely traverse the road at night.
In its regular program to keep the expressway network safe and in good condition, NLEX completed the asphalt overlay and patching works in the 109,886-square meter section of the NLEX and the 31,600-square meter section of the SCTEX. The Porac bridge in Porac, Pampanga, and Gumain bridge in Floridablanca, Pampanga have undergone repairs for a safer and smoother driving experience.
To ensure safe passage especially during the rainy season, drainage enhancements were done along the NLEX Harbor Link, Valenzuela northbound, and Balintawak southbound. Concrete-made drainage covers in these areas were replaced with more durable steel grating. Customer service centers also got a makeover with new backlit signages.
In 2021, NLEX also finished some upgrades in its toll collection system. It completed the installation of RFID early detection features in 56 toll lanes increasing the total number of toll lanes with advanced reading feature to 188. With this project, the enhanced RFID scanners can detect up to three vehicles in advance for quick processing of toll lane transactions.
The company also equipped the Balintawak, Mindanao, Karuhatan, Paso de Blas, and Tarlac toll plazas with automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) system, which is being used to match RFID transactions, improve safety, and enforce traffic laws.
“Continuous improvement will always be our priority. As the company ends 2021 with a positive note, we welcome 2022 with optimism as there are big-ticket projects that we will complete and commence this year,” Bautista said.
Among the 2022 expansion plan projects Bautista is referring to are the NLEX C5 Link Mindanao Avenue-Quirino Highway Section, the Candaba Third Viaduct, and NLEX Connector.
Set to start construction within the year is the new two-kilometer expressway section between the existing Mindanao Avenue toll plaza and Quirino Highway in Novaliches, Quezon City. This is part of the 11.5-kilometer NLEX C5 Link between Mindanao Avenue, Quirino Highway, Regalado Avenue, Congressional Avenue and C.P. Garcia Avenue in Quezon City aimed at cutting travel time between Mindanao Avenue and Commonwealth Avenue to 10 minutes instead of the usual 45 minutes.
Also included in the expansion plans pipeline is the construction of the third bridge at Candaba Viaduct that will expand its capacity from three lanes to four lanes per direction, enhancing the mobility and safety of motorists.
As part of the 2022 expansion plans, the 8-kilometer NLEX Connector that passes through 5th Avenue/C3 Road, España Blvd. all the way to Sta. Mesa, Manila is targeted for completion this year. This elevated expressway will provide the supply chain and logistics sector with a more efficient route, bypassing busy roads such as EDSA and C5.
NLEX Corporation is a unit of the Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC), the toll road arm of the Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC).