With more than 100,000 motorists served, the expanded Subic Freeport Expressway (SFEX) has been fulfilling its primary function of improving mobility and helping Subic’s infrastructure development program.
Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma cited infrastructure projects such as the expanded SFEX are essential in the continuing development and operation of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone because having better access means more investments and livelihood opportunities.
“We envision Subic to be a globally-competitive investment and tourism destination and a world-class economic growth center. This is why we are strengthening Subic’s capacity to take in more business and more jobs. The expanded SFEX because it is better and bigger, it brings in more business to Subic,” Eisma said.
The Metro Pacific-led NLEX Corporation recently invested P1.6-billion for the expansion of the 8.2-kilometer SFEX to increase the expressway capacity from one lane to two lanes in each direction. Completed last February 2021, the new road has paved way for business activities to accelerate amidst the ongoing pandemic.
A total of 16.4 new lane kilometers, two new bridges in Jadjad and Argonaut, and a new tunnel were constructed as part of the SFEX expansion project. The tollway company also installed international standard LED lights, raised the elevation of the Maritan Highway-Rizal Highway-Tipo Road junction, and enhanced the area’s drainage system to boost motorists’ safety.
Eisma noted that “investment projects by private companies like NLEX Corporation pump welcome infusions into Subic’s overall development strategy,” adding that “we have to upgrade our infrastructure so that travel to and from Subic would be faster, safer, and more efficient.”
The Chairman also mentioned that the SFEX expansion complements SBMA’s big-ticket projects such as the P396.5-milion replacement of the Magsaysay Bridge at Subic’s main gate and the P225.4-million road rehabilitation package that started in 2019. She said the SBMA has undertaken four major road repair projects in the past four years to increase mobility and traffic capacity as well as improve security and offer conducive environment in the Freeport.
J. Luigi L. Bautista, president and general manager of NLEX Corporation, pointed out that the company’s infrastructure investment in Subic is particularly beneficial to the supply chain and logistics sectors, both of which play a key role in the economic recovery.
“As our country recovers from the effects of the pandemic, we are hopeful that the SFEX and other road projects will ramp up the growth through increased investments and tourism in both the Subic and Clark Freeports—benefitting thousands of locators and other business owners,” Bautista said.
In 2020, the Port of Subic generated a total of $1.2 billion in revenues, while tourism activities yielded P8.48 million despite COVID-19 restrictions.
“Our commitment to being a partner of government in nation building has been more relevant during this challenging time and we remain steadfast in providing quality infrastructure to spur economic opportunities,” Bautista assured.