NLEX Corporation continues with the construction of major infrastructure projects despite community quarantine restrictions.
These include the eight-kilometer NLEX Connector and the upgrade of the five-kilometer Candaba Viaduct, as well as other safety repairs and bridge rehabilitation.
The tollway company and its contractors are complying with the safety guidelines mandated by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and other relevant government agencies to balance continued infrastructure development with the health and safety of workers.
These measures include strict observance of safety and hygiene protocols such as wearing of personal protective equipment and monitoring of temperature, regular disinfection of equipment and work area, compliance with physical distancing, provision of washing facilities at strategic locations, and testing of workers.
“We are following our timelines and have contingencies in place to be able to accomplish our projects amid the community quarantine,” NLEX Corporation President and General Manager Luigi Bautista said, noting that “by accelerating these projects, we are doing our part to help keep the economy going.”
Construction on the first five-kilometer of the NLEX Connector or the Caloocan-España section is continuing, with its progress standing at 32 percent.
This latest Metro Manila elevated expressway is being built over the existing right-of-way (ROW) of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) between the Caloocan Interchange along C3 Road/5th Ave. and España Blvd. in Sampaloc, Manila.
Targeted for completion by the end of the year, the section will have on and off ramps in España and will make NLEX accessible from the University Belt area.
The next three-kilometer section -- also within the PNR ROW -- between España Blvd. and the vicinity of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Sta. Mesa, Manila, is expected to begin construction within the second quarter of the year.
Around 35,000 motorists daily are set to benefit from this new road. The project is also being eyed as a viable 24/7 cargo truck alternative route between north and south Metro Manila -- and support business activities in the fast-growing regions in Central Luzon and Calabarzon.
NLEX continues its series of upgrades on the Candaba Viaduct to maintain its long-term serviceability and ensure the safety and driving comfort of motorists.
The current upgrade, which is targeted for completion by May this year, involves the replacement of the link slabs on the Manila-bound portion of the bridge.
To date, the project is already 92 percent complete as 23 out of the 25 link slabs have been replaced.
The pavement repair program on NLEX and SCTEX is also making headway. Safety repairs on identified expressway bridges are likewise ongoing.
NLEX has also started the rehabilitation of the Meycauayan and Bigaa bridges in Bulacan to strengthen their structures.
According to Bautista, both were built in the 1960s and even though the company ensures the required periodic maintenance is undertaken, it is high time for the much-needed major repairs.
While the rehabilitation of the 45-meter Meycauayan bridge is targeted for completion by September 2021, the rehabilitation of the 64-meter Bigaa bridge in Balagtas area is expected to be finished by August 2021.
To keep the traffic flowing as efficiently as possible, the project is being undertaken in stages starting off with the southbound portion.
Three lanes will remain passable to motorists while works are ongoing.
For the Meycauayan bridge, the southbound works will be from April to July and the northbound works will be from July to September.
For the Bigaa bridge, the southbound repairs will be from April to May and the northbound repairs will be from May to July.
"With all these ongoing projects, we believe that we are helping our country bounce back quickly from the global health crisis. We are not just building roads, but we are also helping build a more resilient economy,” Bautista said.