The government approved the construction of the new 64 lane kilometers in the Bulacan and Pampanga portions of the NLEX as part of its program to decongest traffic in urban areas and boost socio-economic growth with infrastructures that facilitate more efficient transport of goods and services.
It could be recalled that in 2013, the government, through the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB), called on expressway operators in the country to submit their expansion programs. The expressway regulator also said concessionaires would be allowed to recover the cost of the expansion projects through add-on toll rates. The NLEX Corporation, formerly Manila North Tollways Corporation, proposed to expand certain portions of the expressway where traffic buildups usually form and proceeded to implement the project as approved by the TRB in 2016.
“The expansion of NLEX is our proactive response to address capacity concerns and to maintain the quality service we deliver to motorists and other expressway users,” said NLEX Corporation president Rodrigo E. Franco.
The tollway company started the construction of the P2.9 billion expansion project in February 2016. The project consists of 56-new lane kilometers in Segment 2 from Sta. Rita, Guiguinto, Bulacan to San Fernando City, Pampanga and 8-new lane kilometers including two new bridges in Segment 3 from Dau to Sta. Ines, Mabalacat City, Pampanga. Segment 3 was completed in December 2016 while Segment 2 was opened to motorists in March 2017.
The company has filed the petition for the approval of add-on toll rates, based on the project approval of TRB and validation of Department of Finance, for the Bocaue to Sta. Ines stretch of NLEX to recoup the said investments.
It initially sought rate adjustments of P0.3250 per kilometer for Class 1 vehicles; P0.8125 for Class 2 vehicles; and P0.9750 for Class 3 vehicles but adjusted the petitioned rates downward to P0.2650, P0.6625, and P0.7950 for Class 1, 2, and 3 vehicles, respectively.
“NLEX has been operated and maintained in accordance with the highest performance and safety standards. The toll rates, even when increased, will deliver value for money and guarantee continuance of the same standards of safety, performance, and motorist convenience,” Franco pointed out.
The new expressway lanes are built to ensure the sustainability and viability of the NLEX thus better provide safe and convenient travel to motorists.
Aside from constructing new lanes, the NLEX Corporation also invested in the installation of 800 expressway-standard LED road lighting between the Balagtas section all the way to San Fernando City.