By Azer Parrocha
MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Monday led the inauguration of the first section of the PHP23.2 billion North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) Connector from Caloocan to España, hopeful that the project would be completed “within the target time frame.”
In his speech, Marcos called on the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and NLEX Corporation to work “closely and effectively” to complete the road project without delays.
“Try very hard, as we all do, to stay within the target time frame. Although your success rate in this regard is exemplary, avoid unnecessary delays and finish the project as scheduled so that the Filipino people will be able to reap the benefits as soon as possible,” he said.
Marcos said the NLEX Connector will soon provide an alternate route that will reduce travel time for our motorists and significantly improve the mobility of people as well as goods and services.
He said the opening of this project also shows that his administration sustains and accelerates the momentum started by the previous administration in terms of infrastructure development.
“Under the Build, Better More program, we will continue to push for the interconnectivity of major roads and expressways as well as build even more roads and bridges in strategic places within the archipelago,” he said.
Marcos expressed gratitude to concerned government agencies and the private sector for having made the road project possible.
“Thank you to the NLEX Corporation and the Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation for completing this part of this project. We certainly need to recognize as well your continued efforts in improving our country’s infrastructure systems…” Marcos said.
“I would also like to acknowledge the efforts of our officials and employees in the DOTr and the DPWH [Department of Public Works and Highways] and all its attached agencies who have played a very important and crucial role in the success of this project. Let us keep up the good work,” he added.
He also vowed that his administration will continue to develop a “highly interconnected road network” that will facilitate the country’s rapid, inclusive and sustained economic growth.
During the event, Marcos was briefed by NLEX President and General Manager J. Luigi Bautista on the NLEX Connector project.
DPWH Secretary Manuel Bonoan and Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC) chairperson Manuel V. Pangilinan also joined the President during the inaugural drive through on board a pick-up vehicle.
The latest NLEX Connector will pass through the cities of Caloocan and Manila, with the Caloocan Interchange Connector Road in Balintawak, Caloocan City and the España Interchange Connector Road in Manila.
The road project will form an integral part of the Luzon Spine Expressway Network, which will be a component of the Philippine High Standard Highway Network.
Once completed, the eight-kilometer, four-lane, all-elevated toll expressway connector project will reduce the travel time from SLEX-Alabang to NLEX-Balintawak from two hours to 20 minutes and will benefit 35,000 motorists daily.
As of March 23, the NLEX Connector Section 1 has been completed while Section 2 is 42 percent accomplished and is targeted to be completed by June 2023, provided that the right-of-way for the section is delivered to the contractor by the end of March. (PNA)