WORK on the expansion of the Subic Bay Freeport Expressway (SFEX) has started, according to the NLEX Corp. and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).

The P1.6-billion SFEX capacity expansion project is expected to make it easier for motorists to go in and out of Subic Bay Freeport.

In a statement, NLEX said the project involves adding two new expressway lanes, including a tunnel and two bridges in Jadjad and Argonaut, to the eight-kilometer SFEX.

Expressway-standard LED lights will be installed along the SFEX as well.

“Our company believes that good infrastructure is necessary to expedite delivery of products and boost tourism. These SFEX improvements, which are expected to be completed by September 2020, all aimed at supporting trade and commerce in Subic and enhancing the travel experience of our motorists,” NLEX Corp. President and General Manager Luigi L. Bautista was quoted as saying in the statement.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said the expansion of the SFEX will help Subic maintain its position as a premiere business and leisure hub, and complement its infrastructure development program.

The project also includes raising the Maritan Highway-Rizal Highway-Tipo Road junction and improving the drainage system to address flooding in the area. Phase 1 is expected to be completed by October, in time for the Southeast Asian Games in November.

To give way for the construction activities, one part of the Maritan-Rizal-Tipo junction has been closed to traffic since July 13. Motorists are asked to use alternate routes along the Causeway Road and the Argonaut-Kalayaan Access Road.

“While there will be occasional lane closures for the entire project duration, SFEX will remain passable to all types of vehicles as most construction activities will be done at the roadside,” Mr. Bautista said.