By Arra B. Francia, Reporter
METRO PACIFIC Tollways Corp. (MPTC) said roadworks along the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) and Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) will be halted ahead of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Clark, Pampanga in November.
“Meron kasi kaming mga road expansions tsaka mga expansion sa interchanges, tulad ng sa Mabiga, Sta. Ines, made-delay yun ng mga two weeks because of the ASEAN kasi walang construction (We have some road expansion and expansion of interchanges, like in Mabiga, Sta. Ines. These will be delayed for around two weeks because of the ASEAN, there will be no construction),” MPTC President and Chief Executive Officer Rodrigo E. Franco told BusinessWorld last week.
MPTC started shutting down mainline roadworks at NLEx and SCTEx on Oct. 27 to make way for the heavy traffic expected during the All Saint’s Day holiday, when Filipinos flock to their home provinces to visit the graves of deceased relatives.
Various ASEAN activities and meetings will be held in Clark, Pampanga from Nov. 10 to 14.
The suspension of roadworks at NLEx and SCTEx will run until Nov. 16, when the ASEAN events end.
Around 264,500 to 299,000 vehicles are expected to traverse NLEx during peak periods, 15-30% more than the usual daily traffic.
Meanwhile, suspension of road works in Cavite Expressway (CAVITEx) will run from Oct. 27 to Nov. 2. However, MPTC expects traffic at CAVITEx to lessen during the holidays because users of the expressway are mostly commuters.
MPTC has allocated P3.7 billion for enhancement projects in the expressways, in a bid to boost service capacity, facilitate faster transactions, as well as to support the government’s traffic decongestion efforts.
In NLEx, for instance, the company has already finished construction of 64 new lane-kilometers between Sta. Rita, Guiguinto, Bulacan, Sta. Ines, Mabalacat City, and Pampanga. MPTC has also built more toll lanes in Balintawak, Mindanao Avenue, and Meycauayan toll plazas to speed up transactions.
The San Fernando City Interchange will also be enhanced with the addition of two new bridges as separate carriageways. A right-turning ramp to Mabalacat-Magalang Road in Pampanga will make Sta. Ines a full interchange.
For SCTEx, the company will upgrade the Mabiga interchange by removing a U-turn slot from SCTEx to McArthur Away, turning it into a full diamond interchange. MPTC will also bring Tipo Exit Toll Plaza’s total toll booths to six from the current four toll lanes.
Meanwhile, CAVITEx will be adding new expressway lanes on northbound and southbound directions along the R1 Coastal Road, as well as a flyover at the Pacific Drive.
MPTC is the tollways arm of Mr. Pangilinan’s holding firm, Metro Pacific Investment Corp. (MPIC). MPIC is one of three key Philippine units of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being Philex Mining Corp. and PLDT, Inc. Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls.