Sunday, 6 June 2010

P2.1-b tollway extension opens

Manila Standard

The Manila North Tollways Corporation, developer and concessionaire of the North Luzon Expressway will open today the the NLEX Mindanao Avenue Link, a 2.7-kilometer toll road that provides motorists with additional entry and exit ramps to the NLEX—well ahead of the opening of the school year when traffic volume on the expressway traditionally surges.

President Arroyo, Public Works Secretary Victor Domingo and Manuel V. Pangilinan, Chairman of the Metro Pacific Tollways, parent company of MNTC—will lead the inaugural drive-through that will signal the start of commercial operations of the new segment.

The NLEX Mindanao Avenue Link connects the NLEX, at its Valenzuela City junction, to Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City. Built at P2.1 billion and expected to serve 30,000 vehicles daily during the initial year, the new segment kicks off NLEX’s multibillion-peso road network expansion program known as NLEX Phase 2.

“Once this expansion program is completed, motorists from any part of Metro Manila and neighboring areas can get to the NLEX without going through the heavy traffic in Balintawak, the main entrance to the expressway, and other choke points in the metropolis,” Rodrigo E. Franco, MNTC president and CEO, said. “This will dramatically speed up the transport of people and goods via the NLEX and thereby, help further spur the economic development of Central and Northern Luzon.”

Under NLEX Phase 2 are three other road projects: Segment 8.2 which will link Mindanao Avenue to Katipunan Avenue and to C5, Segment 9 which will connect McArthur Highway in Valenzuela to the NLEX, and Segment 10 which will link McArthur Highway to Manila’s Port Area. Segment 9 will ease access to McArthur Highway, the old route to Central and Northern Luzon. Segment 10, also called “The Port Connector,” will dramatically speed up the transport of goods to and from Manila’s North Harbor.

By providing motorists from Metro Manila and its environs with another entry point to the NLEX, the NLEX Mindanao Avenue Link is expected to help significantly decongest Edsa, particularly in and around the high-traffic Balintawak area.

The construction of the segment began on April 21, 2009 and was finished earlier than the contractual completion date of June 6, 2010 —concrete proof of MNTC’s road-building expertise.

“With all the major works on the NLEX Mindanao Avenue Link completed on time we are now looking forward to the construction of the three remaining segments of NLEX Phase 2 that will start either late this year or early next year,” Franco added.

“Work on Segment 9 has, in fact, already started with the ongoing construction of the NLEX cloverleaf interchange in Valenzuela that, once completed, will also ease traffic to and from Segment 8.1,” he said.

The distinctive feature of this segment is a full cloverleaf interchange, three times larger in area than the Balintawak Cloverleaf, and is designed to allow motorists to enter or leave the main tollway from whatever direction without making a full stop.

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