The NLEX Corp. is setting aside around PhP19 billion in 2018 to help solve Metro Manila’s daily traffic bottlenecks. This is in response to the government’s call for the private sector to complement the government’s massive infrastructure push under the “Build Build Build” program of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the Department of Public Works (DPWH), and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).
NLEX Corp. is a subsidiary of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC), a company owned by Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC, PSE: MPI).
The tollway company, however, clarified that the amount is an estimate that assumes the satisfactory resolution of the tariff adjustments, for which constructive discussions with government are still ongoing. The capex figure will still be subject to review and adjustment depending on the results of the discussions on the tariff.
NLEX Corp. President and CEO Rodrigo Franco said the bulk of the company’s 2018 capital expenditure will be used to construct the urban portions of the NLEX such as the Harbor Link Segment 10 (including the R10 Section in Dagat-Dagatan, Navotas City) and the PPP project of the DPWH, the NLEX-SLEX Connector Road project.
Expected to be opened this year, Harbor Link Segment 10 is a 5.7-km elevated expressway traversing the NLEX from Smart Connect Interchange and crossover Mac Arthur Highway in Valenzuela City with down ramps along C3/5th Avenue Interchange in Caloocan City. When Harbor Link is fully completed, travel between the Ports of Manila and the NLEX will take only 10 minutes and will provide direct expressway access for commercial vehicles, specially heavy trucks.
It is estimated that around 40,000 thousand vehicles traversing the Ports of Manila and the NLEX daily will benefit from the Harbor Link and help decongest the narrow streets of Manila.
The tollways firm will also start construction of the NLEX-SLEX Connector Road Project, an 8-kilometer all-elevated PPP project of the DPWH above the existing PNR tracks from the C3/5th Avenue Interchange in Caloocan City to PUP Sta. Mesa, Manila. Upon its completion in 2021, the elevated expressway will provide motorists another alternative to the daily heavy traffic on EDSA. It is also expected to reduce travel time between NLEX and SLEX from 2 hours to only 20 minutes.
In support of the continuing infrastructure initiatives of the BCDA, NLEX Corp. will also undertake capacity expansion of the 8-km Subic Freeport Expressway. NLEX Corp. will construct 16 new lane kilometers thus boosting Subic port as a prime logistics hub.
NLEX Corp., through its subsidiary, NLEX Ventures Corp. (NVC) has also started construction of a new expressway service facility and rest area along Km. 17 Southbound of the NLEX. The new 15,500-square meter facility called NLEX Drive & Dine will follow a mini-mall concept that will feature a wide variety of retail, food and commercial services for NLEX customers.
To support the rapidly growing areas north of Manila, NLEX Corp. is also constructing two major traffic decongestion projects in Mabalacat City, Pampanga such as the new Sta. Ines Interchange and the new Mabiga Interchange in 2018. The conversion of the narrow SCTEX Mabiga exit into a full diamond interchange with new entry and exit toll plazas will introduce another alternative access to the SCTEX via the MacArthur Highway.
“These investments are aimed at supporting the government’s initiatives to ease the daily traffic woes of our commuters, drive commerce, and are part of our continuing commitment to further ensure safe and convenient travel in our expressways and maintain our high-quality service,” Franco said.