CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Officials and businessmen in Pampanga on Tuesday, November 21, led the opening of the new San Fernando interchange which is expected to ease traffic congestion in the area.
The North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) Corporation stated that motorists, commuters, and business owners in the City of San Fernando and other parts of Central Luzon can expect greater travel convenience with the opening of the expanded interchange.
Rodrigo Franco, president of the Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation and NLEx Corporation, said the project is a “very good” collaboration between the private and public sector.
Franco lauded the private sector for pushing the implementation of the project which include the expansion of the interchange lanes and bridge.
“The project started with the push really from the private sector of Pampanga, Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (PamCham) and the other business leaders including SM and Robinsons that brought to us the traffic situation at the interchange,” Franco said.
Franco admitted that the MPTC and NLEx Corporation failed to anticipate the rapid growth of the province.
“San Fernando and the entire Pampanga province have developed faster than we originally anticipated. Thanks to the political and business leaders of the province,” he added.
An inaugural drive-thru of the expanded interchange led by Franco, Pampanga Second District Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Third District Congressman Aurelio Gonzales, Jr. Pampanga Governor Lilia Pineda, City of San Fernando Vice-Mayor Jimmy Lazatin, Department of Public Works and Highways Regional Director Antonio Molano, Jr., and PamCham Chairman Emeritus Levy Laus marked the opening of the improved infrastructure that will decongest the area and help further accelerate the growth of trade and commerce in Pampanga’s capital city.
The NLEx Corporation enhanced the capacity of the San Fernando Interchange to ease mounting traffic issues within the vicinity of SM San Fernando and Robinsons Malls and to match the progress in one of the busiest tollway interchanges.
Two new bridges crossing the NLEx were built to function as separate carriageways and the interchange ramps were widened to four lanes in each direction. The east and west roundabouts along Jose Abad Santos Avenue were also removed to pave way for the installation of automated traffic signals.
“We undertook these traffic enhancements in our infrastructure to keep up with the fast-paced developments and heightened economic activities in San Fernando,” said Franco.
“With these improvements, the new and expanded interchange is seen to facilitate efficient mobility of people and goods to and from San Fernando and nearby areas,” he added.
Also part of NLEx Corporation’s effort to improve traffic flow and spur business growth in Pampanga is the ongoing construction of the new Mabiga Interchange in Mabalacat, City.
This new interchange will soon serve as a full diamond interchange that will improve access of motorists between SCTEX and MacArthur Highway. New on and off ramps with entry and exit toll plazas are also under construction.
Meanwhile, the Sta. Ines Interchange also in Mabalacat City is also being expanded to accommodate increasing traffic growth.
NLEx Corporation is constructing a new right-turning ramp in the direction of the Mabalacat-Magalang Road and improve access to the SCTEX.
Along the San Simon interchange, the main bridge is undergoing retrofitting as part of NLEx’s bid to ensure safety of motorists. Built in 1970s, the bridge needs repair to improve strength and durability.
Another project that is set to boost Pampanga’s development is the NLEx Phase 3. Currently undergoing final engineering is NLEX Phase 3 which is envisioned to be a 37-kilometer, 4-lane divided expressway from Sto. Tomas, Pampanga to Dinalupihan, Bataan.
Traffic impact studies are also in the works to decongest San Simon and Angeles interchanges.
Early this year, the NLEX Corporation fully opened to the public the 64 lane kilometers of new expressway lanes between the Sta. Rita to San Fernando and Dau to Sta. Ines portions of the NLEX which have since improved travel time and safer travel in Bulacan and Pampanga.