Public and private sectors in the North and Central Luzon regions have expressed their full support for the ongoing upgrading of the NLEX Candaba Viaduct, the decades-old elevated highway connecting Pulilan, Bulacan, and Apalit, Pampanga.
Consisting of two 5km-long independent bridges, the Candaba Viaduct will undergo major rehabilitation along the Manila-bound carriageway that will last until December 2020 to improve road safety and address the long-term serviceability of the structure. This is the first of a series of upgrades slated for the viaduct.
Banking on infrastructure improvement and modernization to boost economic development, the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (PamCham) backs the project aimed at helping revive the region’s economy while also ensuring public safety.
“To preserve the vital function of the Viaduct as a critical link between the National Capital Region and the North and Central Luzon areas, upgrading and rehabilitation works are needed. We extend our support for transport infrastructure programs that will uphold and ensure the safe, unhampered, and on-time delivery of critical goods and services nationwide,” said PamCham president Renato Romero.
During a dialogue conducted at Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center in San Fernando City among NLEX Corporation officers, Pampanga-based trucking groups and other stakeholders, Pampanga Governor Dennis Pineda regarded the project as a welcome progress in the province, stating that “the Pampanga provincial government is supporting the Candaba Viaduct upgrade because this will bring greater development to us.”
Sharing the same view, Apalit, Pampanga Mayor Oscar Tetangco Jr. said, “Napapanahon na po ang rehabilitasyon ng viaduct kaya sinusuportahan natin ang NLEX sa hakbang na ito.” Meanwhile, Pulilan, Bulacan Mayor Maritz Ochoa-Montejo underscored the importance of upgrading the bridge, “Ang rehabilitation na ito ay ipinagpapatuloy nila upang masiguro ang kaligtasan ng bawat isang motorista,” she said.
Potential traffic congestion and queues are expected during peak hours as some Manila-bound lanes will be constricted during the replacement of several concrete link slabs along various sections of the Viaduct. These concrete components that typically connect two bridge deck spans will be replaced to restore motorist driving comfort.
“The Candaba Viaduct has served the Metro Manila, and Central and North Luzon road corridor for many years. We enjoin public support and understanding for the travel delays that may be caused by the upgrading. However, when completed, we are optimistic that these improvements will further boost safety and provide better driving experience to our customers,” said NLEX Corporation president and general manager J. Luigi L. Bautista.
The works will require Manila-bound motorists to slow down and utilize a temporary 31-meter fabricated steel Bailey bridge that will be installed to allow cars, vans, small trucks, and buses to cross over the link slab construction site. Cargo trucks will be rerouted to the counterflow lane at the northbound carriageway. The installation and dismantling of the Bailey bridge would require lane closures at certain times.
To improve safety while construction is underway, NLEX will temporarily reroute heavy 12-wheeler dump trucks from areas north of the viaduct to MacArthur Highway. These 12-wheelers may re-enter NLEX southbound via Pulilan, Sta. Rita or Tabang.
In line with this, Bulacan mayors assure to help manage the traffic on their local roads.
“Together with our traffic management team and in coordination with nearby localities, we would be exerting our best effort para mapagaan pa rin ang trapiko para sa ating mga kababayan,” Malolos City Mayor Gilbert Gatchalian affirmed.
Guiguinto Mayor Ambrosio Cruz Jr. said, “Konting tiis lang po para sa pagbabago, para din naman ito sa ating kapakanan. Kailangan ang mga intervention para maging safe ang ating biyahe.”
Also with them is Calumpit Mayor Jessie De Jesus who mentioned, “Alam po natin na makakaranas ang bawat isa ng inconvenience lalo na ang epekto ng reroute ng mga truck, subalit makakaasa kayo na ang Bayan ng Calumpit ay makikiisa sa napakahalagang proyektong ito para sa ikabubuti ng bawat mamamayan.”
Meanwhile, both Hermosa, Bataan Mayor Antonio Joseph Inton and Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong believe that the project will not only address safety but will also improve mobility.
“Nagpapasalamat kami sa pamunuan ng NLEX sa pagbibigay ng importansya sa safety concerns naming taga-Norte. Buo ang suporta namin sa pagsasagawa ng rehabilitasyon ng Viaduct,” said Inton.
For his part, Magalong said, “Ngayong may mga rehabilitasyon na ginagawa ang NLEX, atin pong suportahan dahil ito po ay ginagawa para sa ating kaligtasan. Mas magiging mabilis, ligtas at maayos na po ang pagpunta sa aming siyudad.”
Recent engineering studies have concluded that aside from the usual wear and tear over the years, the unabated passage of overloaded trucks has permanently damaged several Candaba Viaduct link slabs.
To ensure smooth traffic within the repair site, NLEX Corporation will deploy patrol crews and traffic marshals and minimize traffic slowdowns.
Directional traffic signs will also be placed at strategic locations to better guide the public. Traffic updates will be posted on electronic variable message signs and announced via social media accounts.