Motorists, the local government units and the business, tourism and transport sectors laud the opening of new expressway lanes at the NLEX.
The NLEX Corporation, formerly the Manila North Tollways Corporation, has poured P2.9-billion in new investments to build 64 new lane-kilometers to ease travel in the section between Sta. Rita, Guiguinto, Bulacan and San Fernando City.
The new project which was approved by the government, also includes the construction of new expressway lanes on both sides of the 5-km long Candaba Viaduct, the first time it was expanded since its construction in the ‘70s.
The tollway company also built a new 2×2, 4-kilometer expressway in the Mabalacat City portion of the NLEX including two new bridges. This new project, which was completed in October last year, segregates northbound and southbound motorists along separate carriageways and promote road safety.
With these new projects, the NLEX Corporation hopes to encourage more travel convenience and improve public services along this key NLEX section that connects Metro Manila to the provinces in Central and Northern Luzon.
NLEX Corporation President and CEO Rodrigo Franco said the motorists stand to benefit from these new NLEX projects as positive developments will be realized with their completion, highlighting the hassle-free travel experience when portions of the new projects were temporarily opened last December for holiday travelers.
“As an advocate for countryside development and a main endorser of the new projects at the NLEX, the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (PamCham) expects the new expressway lanes to enhance travel convenience and promote growth of local businesses,” PamCham President Jess Nicdao noted.
The new NLEX projects are also seen to spur further rapid growth in the region according to Central Luzon Regional Development Council Chairman and Angeles City Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan. “This new infrastructure will facilitate more efficient transport of goods and services within the region thus help bring in more investments and boost tourism development,” he said.
Pamintuan believes that the immediate opening of the new expressway lanes between Bulacan and Pampanga will be a big boost to the Central Luzon’s economy, adding that the completion of the new infrastructure is parallel to the goal of the council to accelerate regional socio-economic development.
“The new 64 lane kilometers are expected to boost the tourism industry in the North and Central Luzon regions since these will provide easy and faster access to tourist destinations,” according to Tourism Region 3 Director Ronaldo Tiotuico who stressed that infrastructure developments are key to boosting the tourism sector. “With improved infrastructure, like that of the NLEX, travel to the tourism hubs will be faster and more convenient thus help us further transform the regions into favorite tourist destinations,” he said.
To anticipate the holiday travel surge in December last year, NLEX Corporation partially opened the new 4-kilometer northbound carriageway in Mabalacat City, Pampanga. This P235-million project, which included the new bridges at Bgy. Balem and Bgy. Quitanguil, have since enhanced traffic safety and made the city more accessible.
Mabalacat City Mayor Marino “Boking” Morales said during the inauguration that “the new road makes Mabalacat more accessible to potential investors and could increase the city’s income.”
Included in the new NLEX projects were the installation of 800 expressway-standard LED road lighting between the Balagtas section all the way to San Fernando City. The NLEX Corporation lighted up an additional 33 kilometers along the NLEX in keeping with its commitment to promoting motorist safety.