PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. said on Monday that he will pursue more projects interconnecting the country’s road networks. 

“We will continue to push for the interconnectivity of major roads and expressways, as well as build even more roads and bridges in strategic places within the archipelago,” he said in a speech at the inauguration of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) Connector Project’s first phase. The road is a five-kilometer elevated expressway running from Caloocan’s Circumferential Road 3 (C-3) to España Boulevard in Manila.

The first segment is part of the NLEX-South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) Road Connector Project, an eight-kilometer, four-lane elevated expressway spanning C3 Road, España, the Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Sta. Mesa, Manila and the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3.

“We will not stop here, and we will continue to develop a highly interconnected road network that will facilitate our country’s rapid, inclusive, and sustained economic growth,” Mr. Marcos said.

The NLEX Connector Caloocan-España section will be a “great relief” to the logistics sector “since there will be an alternative route for truckers who wish to avoid the congestion in the main roads within the metropolis,” Mr. Marcos said.

“(It will) contribute to the ease of movement of cargo and goods from north to south and vice versa, especially those coming from the Port of Manila.”

The NLEX Connector’s first segment is expected to cut travel time between the cities of Manila and Caloocan to five minutes.

The second phase, which will run between España to Magsaysay Boulevard, is expected to be finished by June.

The P23.20-billion NLEX-SLEX Connector Project is a public-private partnership between the Department of Public Works and Highways and Metro Pacific Investments Corp.

“Once completed, it is expected to decongest traffic in Metro Manila by providing an alternative to C-5 Road, Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA), and other major roads,” the Department of Finance said in a statement.

“It will also cut the travel time between NLEX and SLEX from more than an hour to just 15 to 20 minutes,” it added.

Mr. Marcos urged NLEX Corp. to “remain steadfast” in its commitment to working with the government to improve the infrastructure landscape. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza