Lopez Holdings


GMA opens the 8-km North Luzon Expressway (NLE) segment in Pampanga
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo inaugurates today the completed 8 kilometer stretch of the northbound lanes of the Candaba-San Simon segment of the North Luzon Expressway. Symbolizing the partnership of government and private sector in working together to provide the road infrastructure which is expected to boost socio-economic growth in central and northern Luzon, President Arroyo joins Manila North Tollways Corporation Chairman Oscar M. Lopez, MNTC President / CEO Jose "Ping" De Jesus and Sec. Marita M. Jimenez of the Presidents Priority Programs and ODA Projects in the inaugural drive through to test the quality and ride of the newly constructed carriageway.

Entering the seventh month of its 24 month construction timetable, the rehabilitation, expansion and improvement of the 84 kilometer North Luzon Expressway is considered one of governments flagship projects within the context of its economic development programs. Its progress and completion are also being monitored by the NEDA and the Regional Development Council - Regional Project Monitoring Committee, being a key strategic infrastructure project of Central Luzon.

When construction commenced last February, President Macapagal-Arroyo hailed the North Luzon Tollway Project as a significant milestone in the nations continuing mission to generate economic growth and create opportunities by opening up avenues for trade, tourism and investments in Central and Northern Luzon.

Recalling that the Lopez Group spearheaded the initiative to undertake the US $ 371 million modernization program under the most trying of conditions and without government guarantees, MNTC Chair Oscar Lopez on the other hand reaffirmed his belief in the active role that the private sector plays in nation building.

MNTC President Jose De Jesus exuded excitement while lauding the benefits of the project, stating, "The reconstruction of the North Luzon Expressway is all about providing mobility and access to markets and products, between consumers and producers. We are talking about smooth unhampered flow of tourists to destinations north of Manila."

Describing the future reconstructed NLE as truly world class, De Jesus added that it would be "a fitting symbol of our collective aspirations to move ahead with an agenda of economic growth and prosperity."

As government and private sector join hands to inaugurate the first completed segment of the NLE rehabilitation, it augurs well for the country that everything is well on the way to fulfilling that agenda.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo inaugurated yesterday the newly constructed 8 kilometer segment of the northbound lanes of the North Luzon Expressway from Candaba to San Simon in Pampanga. Together with Manila North Tollways Corporation Chairman Oscar Lopez, MNTC President Jose "Ping" De Jesus, Secs. Soriquez, Mendoza, Gordon and Jimenez, PNCC officials and other local government executives, the president conducted an inaugural drive through to test the quality and ride of the new carriageway.

Upon the Presidents arrival in San Simon, De Jesus briefed the Chief Executive and cabinet secretaries on the Projects highlights and showed future improvements and operational features that will make the rehabilitated NLE at par with tollways in the region and around the world. Bruce Neave, Leighton Contractors Project Director gave the updated status of the project

The rehabilitation, expansion and modernization of the 84 kilometer North Luzon Expressway involves repaving of the existing 337 lane kilometers from Balintawak to Sta. Ines, Pampanga and constructing new 132 lane kilometers through new lanes from Balintawak to Sta. Rita. The project scope also includes the building of three new interchanges in Marilao, Angeles and Mexico. The ten existing interchanges shall also be widened and improved. Two new flyovers in Balintawak-Novaliches and Dau will also be built. New toll barriers with increased number of booths will be placed in Balintawak, Bocaue and Dau . The Tabang toll barrier and new and existing toll plazas shall also be expanded and improved.

With widened carriageways, additional lanes and expanded interchanges , the level of service is expected to improve from the present 2200 vehicles per lane / per hour / per direction to 1000 vehicles per lane / per hour / per direction.

When the new tollway becomes operational motorists can also expect new features that will promote safety and comfort on the road. An electronic toll system will combine with the manual system for faster throughput of vehicles in entrances and exits. Electronic variable message signboards will be installed in strategic areas to inform motorists of road conditions along their routes. Emergency call boxes will be placed at both sides of the carriageway for speedy communications and faster motorist assistance. CCTV pan-tilt cameras will also be operational to ensure the integrity of toll collections and monitor traffic and safety along the routes.

The completion of the northbound lanes from Candaba to San Simon is just the start of key events that will usher in a different motoring experience for users of the new NLE. In time, the counterflow traffic being implemented up to San Fernando will be reduced from 12 kilometers to 4 kilometers. Along the entire length of the NLE traffic congestion due to construction activity will be minimized.

Despite inclement weather and several typhoons that have struck the country the past months, Leighton Contractors Asia Ltd., the general contractor for the project also remains on track for completing the construction and paving of the mainline road works.

Soon enough, road users will enjoy fluidity, safety, comfort and reliability of the new NLE. And it will be worth the wait. 

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