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NLEx operator eyes November opening for third viaduct in Candaba

NLEx operator eyes November opening for third viaduct in Candaba


In five months, motorists using the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) may experience faster trips with the expected completion of the Candaba third viaduct project along the highway linking the provinces of Bulacan and Pampanga, according to officials of the tollway operator.

“This project will not only increase the capacity of the 5-km Candaba Viaduct but will ultimately improve safety and convenience of the motorists, as well as aid in the acceleration and growth of trade and commerce in Central Luzon,” Rogelio Singson, president and CEO of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC), parent company of NLEx Corp., said during the groundbreaking for the P7.89-billion project on Wednesday.

J. Luigi Bautista, NLEx Corp. president and general manager, said the new bridge, which would be built in the middle of the two viaducts, would expand road capacity and increase the speed limit to 60 to 80 kilometers per hour (kph) from the current rent 40 to 60 kph.

“Upon completion, Class 3 vehicles or large trucks will be directed to the new bridge so that the old structures will be relieved of heavy loads,” Bautista said.

The Candaba viaducts, which traverse this town and Apalit in nearby Pampanga, are strategic expressways built over swamps. These are composed of two 5-km bridges that have been connecting Metro Manila and Central Luzon for nearly 50 years.

The northbound lane (first viaduct) was built between 1974 and 1977, while the southbound lane (second viaduct) was constructed between 1977 and 1985.

Ensuring safety

Singson, on the sidelines of the event, told reporters they were also eyeing to rehabilitate other bridges along NLEx to better service motorists.

According to company officials, NLEX Corp. has been implementing upgrades in the viaduct since 2005, including pavement resurfacing; bridge link slab, girder and deck replacement; and construction of emergency stops.

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Recently, the company announced that it had installed additional closed circuit television cameras across NLEx, NLEx Connector and Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx)  to beef up traffic monitoring and management.

“As we expand our roads, we remain devoted in providing safe and convenient travel experience to the public by boosting our systems in traffic management. These additional cameras and message boards reinforce our main goal of providing safe and hassle-free mobility in all our expressways,” Bautista said earlier.

Meanwhile, Singson defended the recent P11 toll increase on NLEx and SCTEx, saying the hike was “long overdue.”

“It has been 11 years since NLEx increased the toll. With the recent toll hike, it’s like the annual increase was only P1,” he said. REPORTS FROM CARMELA REYES-ESTROPE AND TYRONE JASPER C. PIAD INQ