The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and NLEX Corporation formally opened to all types of vehicles and motorists the newly completed 8.2 km Subic Freeport Expressway (SFEX) expansion on Friday.
The inaugural drive through was held to mark the opening of this key expressway expansion led by cabinet officials headed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, DPWH Sec. Mark Villar, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Sec. Arthur Tugade, Presidential Spokesperson Sec. Harry Roque, together with Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairperson and Administrator Wilma Eisma, Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC) President Jose Ma. Lim, Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC) President Rodrigo Franco, and NLEX Corporation President and General Manager J. Luigi Bautista.
The expressway expansion connects Bataan, Zambales, Pampanga and the rest of Central Luzon through the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, NLEX Corp. President Bautista said.
It was learned that this P1.6-billion new expressway project was constructed despite the ongoing COVID pandemic in response to the need to accelerate business activities and facilitate the flow of goods and services between the economic zones in Clark and Subic.
“The administration’s ‘Build Build Build’ infrastructure program is one of the key drivers that would help our economy get back on track from the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Infrastructure investments have a high multiplier effect in the economy, so priority is being given to projects that would create opportunities and propel our country’s growth,” Executive Secretary Medialdea pointed out.
In his message, Secretary Villar said, “this fresh Metro Pacific Tollways infrastructure investment will improve mobility, accelerate the country’s economic recovery and more importantly, support the logistics and supply chain we urgently need. Around 10,000 motorists daily will benefit from this new road.”
NLEX Corp. embarked on the P1.6-billion expansion project to increase the expressway capacity from a single two-way carriageway to a double carriageway with dedicated lanes in each direction wherein a total of 16.4 new lane kilometers, two new bridges in Jadjad and Argonaut, and a new tunnel were constructed.
NLEX Corp. also installed international standard LED lights, raised the elevation of the Maritan Highway-Rizal Highway-Tipo Road junction, and enhanced the area’s drainage system.
“We continued the construction of the new expressway despite the challenges posed by the pandemic and the stringent health protocols. The construction project also provided jobs and supported the livelihood of our people. It was also our way of helping our countrymen manage the economic impact of the health crisis. MPTC and NLEX continue to stand with the government in its commitment to improve the lives of Filipinos through infrastructure projects such as this,” Bautista added.
The new expressway expansion will help spur investments and boost tourism in the Subic Freeport, benefitting thousands of locators and other business owners. It is eyed to complement SBMA’s infrastructure rehabilitation and development program.
SBMA Chair Eisma noted that the project is definitely a welcome development for Subic, especially now that tourism-related businesses are being revitalized. “The new SFEX would also boost the growing transshipment operations.”
Last December 28, NLEX partially opened the new expressway to serve motorists during the holiday season. A series of road safety audits showed that the completed project is compliant with expressway standards and ready to be fully opened to the motoring public.
Other ongoing NLEX Corp projects under construction are the 8-km NLEX Connector and the Candaba Viaduct Upgrade.
NLEX Corporation is a subsidiary of the Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. MPTC), the tollways unit of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC).