Story & Photos by Ronald Rey M. de los Reyes
TIRED of the seemingly endless daily grind? Finally, here’s good news for motorists.
After the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” team conducted a site inspection of the North Luzon Expressway (Nlex) Harbor Link Segment 10 together with members of the media, the group has expressed confidence that the all-elevated 5.7-kilometer expressway will be finished by the end of the year.
“We are confident that the project will come into fruition by the end of the year. As long as there is solid teamwork between the public and private sectors, we will see this finished on time,” Public Works Secretary Mark A. Villar said in a dialogue with the media.
“Once completed, this will ease traffic, travel time will become faster…. This is our first salvo against congestion for this year,” he added.
Together with him in the project are Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan, MPIC President Jose Ma. Lim and Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) President Rodrigo E. Franco, Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade, National Economic and Development Authority Director General Ernesto M. Pernia, and Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) President Vince Dizon.
The Nlex Harbor Link Segment 10 is envisioned to alleviate traffic congestion and drive commerce between the harbor area and Central to North Luzon. It is seen to advance transport logistics and facilitate efficient delivery of goods.
According to the Department of Public Works and Highways, the P10.5-billion project is comprised of two segments: Segment 8.2 and Segment 10. Segment 8.2 is a 7.5-km, four-lane divided expressway that will run from Mindanao Avenue to Republic Avenue turning right to Luzon Avenue up to Commonwealth in Quezon City. Segment 10, meanwhile, is a 5.7-km, four-lane elevated roadway connecting Segment 9 at MacArthur Highway in Valenzuela City to C-3 Road in Caloocan City.
Villar said it will shorten the travel time of motorists from the Manila Port heading to the Nlex to about 10 minutes. Moreover, there will be no truck ban implemented in the said expressway.
He continued, “The Nlex Harbor Link is a 15.57-km elevated roadway that will serve as an extension of Nlex and is expected to help in decongesting traffic along Edsa and C-5. The project will reduce traffic congestion by 30 percent.”
For his part, Franco shared: “About 40,000 to 60,000 vehicles pass by Nlex. Of the number, 20 percent are trucks and we expect them to go through here. Instead of just doing one round per day, they could do a turnaround for the whole 24 hours.”
“Motorists who would be using Segment 10 will enjoy the same seamless, safe and speedy travel experience like that of those plying the Nlex mainline.”
Golden age of infrastructure
“Build, Build, Build” is the mantra of the administration’s infrastructure program in which several government agencies are partnering to implement major projects involving roads, bridges, railways, airports and green cities to bolster development and ease traffic congestion in the country.
“This is part of the whole master plan of the Duterte administration, the ‘Luzon Spinal Highway Network’. It aims to travel from North to South via high-speed highway. This is the most ambitious infrastructure program in history with an P8-trillion target budget until 2022,” Villar divulged. “Our team is focused on it.”
Pangilinan, meanwhile, said, “Metro Pacific remains committed in supporting President Duterte’s infrastructure program. The Nlex Harbor Link will be a great boost to the country’s cargo-transport industry as cargo trucks will have 24/7 direct access from the port area to the northern provinces of Luzon and vice versa”.
“The enthusiasm of this team is just infectious,” he added.
An unfinished job to be finished
The Nlex Harbor Link project started in 2013. But the DPWH said the acquisition of right-of-way caused delays in the project.
Villar, together with Tugade, said their commitment is to finish the work left uncompleted by the previous administration.
“We are pursuing this project in accordance to Duterte—‘No corruption’. We are very transparent and will be very accountable. Lahat ay gagawin namin nang maayos, malinis at para sa kapakanan ng mas nakararami,” Tugade stated.
“Mag tiwala lamang kayo.”