THE NORTH LUZON Expressway Harbor Link Segment 10 is scheduled to open on Feb. 26. — DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS

THE Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) Harbor Link Segment 10 will officially open on Tuesday (Feb. 26).
After the final inspection of the 5.65-kilometer elevated toll road on Wednesday, Public Works Secretary Mark A. Villar said Harbor Link Segment 10 is ready for operations by next week.
Ito na po ang [This is the] final inspection in preparation for the opening this coming Tuesday,” he said, noting the government only needs to finalize the safety features of the toll road.
The NLEx Harbor Link Segment 10 is a P15.55-billion project with private concessionaire NLEX Corp. Aside from the main line connecting Karuhatan, Valenzuela City to C3, Caloocan City, the expressway will also have a 2.6-kilometer spur road from C3 to Radial Road 10 (R10), Navotas City, which will open by the end of the year.
Mr. Villar said they are looking at around a P9 increase in fees at the NLEx open system due to the new segment. At present, toll fees are P45 for Class 1 vehicles, P114 for Class 2 and P136 for Class 3.
But he noted that for at least two to three weeks from its opening, motorists can use Harbor Link for free.
Libre pa muna ’yung toll…. We’re still finalizing kung ilang weeks, but definitely for at least two to three weeks libre ’yung toll [The toll will be free at first… We’re still finalizing how many weeks it will be free, but definitely for at least two to three weeks the toll will be free),” Mr. Villar said.
NLEX Corp. Senior Vice-President for Communications and Stakeholder Management Romulo S. Quimbo, Jr. said construction of the toll road was completed about a week ago, but they’re still waiting for regulatory clearance from the government.
“There are required documentation that are sequential… We’re left with one more, the Toll Operation Permit (TOP),” he said.
Issued by the Toll Regulatory Board, the TOP allows toll road operations to begin, and indicates the allowable toll rates for its use.
“’Yung TOP na lang. Basta by Tuesday magagamit na yan, kasi wala pa namang toll pag Tuesday eh, libre pa naman [It’s just the TOP. By Tuesday it will be operational, because there will be no toll yet by then, it’s still free],” Mr. Villar said.
NLEx Harbor Link Segment 10 is expected to benefit 30,000 cars daily by reducing travel time from Karuhatan to C3 to just 10 minutes.
NLEX Corp. is under Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC), the tollways unit of Metro Pacific Investments 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. -— Denise A. Valdez