The NLEX and SCTEX are safe for expressway users despite some pavement cracks observed in bridge approaches along SCTEX, following the 6.1-magnitude earthquake that seriously affected Pampanga and other parts of Central Luzon last April 22.
In a post-earthquake assessment conducted by NLEX Corporation and its engineering consultant AMH Philippines, results showed that there was no major structural damage found in NLEX-SCTEX bridges and slopes, but there were cracks and deformations on pavements and bridge expansion joints that need immediate repairs.
It was also noted that the bridges performed and behaved well and that the cracks and deformations are evidently within anticipated range of the design assumptions.
Repairs will be implemented for NLEX and SCTEX structures that sustained defects to ensure the riding comfort of motorists traversing the expressways.
“To ensure the comfort of our motorists, damaged pavements will be replaced and distorted posts as well as bridge expansion joints will be repaired,” said NLEX Corporation president and general manager Luigi Bautista.
Four bridges in SCTEX Porac—Pasig-Potrero, Babo Pangulo, Planas, and Porac— and two bridges in SCTEX Floridablanca—Caulaman and Gumain—bore pavement cracks while steel plates and expansion joints became uneven. Some median concrete toppings in the said areas were also broken.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) earlier reported that Porac felt the quake at Intensity VI. The agency also explained that Porac and Floridablanca are among the towns in Pampanga that sit on soft soil because of the lahar deposits caused by the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in 1991.
Meanwhile, at NLEX, a few light and sign posts along Candaba Viaduct and Dau and Sta. Ines interchanges had noticeably leaned.
“Immediately after the earthquake, our incident response teams were deployed to inspect all our infrastructure facilities and assure the safety of the public plying our expressways,” Bautista noted.
Bautista said that their structures, including those elevated ones, were designed and built in such a way that they do not collapse during an earthquake. He also stressed that the NLEX Harbor Link Segment 10, the elevated expressway from Karuhatan, Valenzuela City to Caloocan Interchange in C3, Caloocan City, is earthquake-resistant and can withstand high magnitude quakes.
“Rest assured that our roads adhere to world-class standards as we use top grade materials and undertake regular road condition surveys,” he added.