It now only takes 10 minutes to drive from the Port Area in Manila to the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) with the opening yesterday of the NLEX Harbor Link project from the new Caloocan Interchange (C3) to Mel Lopez Boulevard (formerly R10).
The 2.6 kilometer-long elevated expressway will serve as a direct route from NLEx to the Port Area and vice versa—making the delivery of goods quicker and more efficient. The project is also seen as a huge relief for motorists, especially truckers, looking for alternative routes especially if they regularly pass along major choke points of Quezon Avenue, Edsa, and A. Bonifacio Avenue.
Public Works Secretary Mark Villar said during the opening ceremony that the elevated expressway will help decongest major thoroughfares in Metro Manila—particularly Edsa and C5—and will lessen travel time between Quezon City and Manila to just 15 to 20 minutes.
Villar explained that the new section also opened up several access points namely, the new Caloocan interchange with on and off ramps along Grace Park, the new Malabon Exit with off ramp on Dagat-Dagatan Avenue, and the new Navotas Interchange with on and off ramps on North Bay Boulevard South.
The NLEX Harbor Link is one of the so-called high-impact infrastructure projects under the “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program and is the first project to be completed during the general community quarantine (GCQ). The completion of the project, originally set for March 2020, was delayed by the suspension of work due to COVID-19.
Joining Villar in the ceremony were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Bases Conversion and Development Authority president and CEO Vivencio “Vince” Dizon, Department of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar, Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. president and CEO Rodrigo E. Franco, and NLEX Corp. president and GM J. Luigi L. Bautista.
Open to all types of vehicle, around 30,000 vehicles are expected to use NLEX Harbor Link every day including cargo trucks coming from the port area.
The DPWH and NLEX Corp. are also targeting the completion of the new exit ramp towards the Navotas Fish Port Complex before the end of the year.
The newly opened section is actually part of NLEX Harbor Link’s 21.65km-long toll road extension of the NLEx that spans from Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City to the C-3 in Caloocan City and further to Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City.
Divided into four segments, namely 8.1, 8.2, 9 and 10, the project is being undertaken by the Pangilinan-led NLEX Corp., formerly the Manila North Tollways Corp. under a rehabilitate-operate-transfer model.
The estimated investment of the NLEX Harbor Link project is more than P26.8 billion.
Charles E. Buban is an old timer in the Philippine automotive journalism scene. He first started covering the automotive beat in 2003, writing news and reviews of new models and car tech, among other car-related stuff. When not writing about cars, he could often be seen riding his mountain bike or doing long walks in the hope of catching a couple of legendary Pokemons.