AROUND P2.6 billion worth of infrastructure developments geared towards the safety and convenience of motorists have been implemented at the Subic–Clark–Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) since the North Luzon Expresswat (NLEX) Corporation took over the management, operation, and maintenance of the expressway.

The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) awarded the SCTEX concession contract to NLEX Corporation in 2015. Since then, the tollway company has invested in various enhancement projects to improve SCTEX’s pavement, systems, bridges, slopes, signs, lights and other assets.

“When the SCTEX was turned over to us, we committed to bring the NLEX brand and extend all its features in SCTEX, so we continuously invest in improving the infrastructure and pursuing innovation to provide efficient service to the motoring public,” NLEX Corporation President and General Manager J. Luigi L. Bautista said.

For this year, the tollway company focuses on the ongoing repair and strengthening of Pasig Potrero Bridge and the road raising project at Dinalupihan, which cost P152 million and P148.5 million, respectively.

The 720-meter Pasig-Potrero Bridge, which serves as a vital link between Subic and Clark, is being strengthened since 2020 as it is experiencing riverbed degradation resulting in the bridge support piles being exposed.

The sand surrounding the bridge piers have diminished over time due to quarry operations in the area.

To improve the bridge’s serviceability and protect its structure, sheet piles or steel sheets and gabions are being installed to retain the sand behind the piers. These remedies are part of the permanent solution that the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will undertake.

The elevation of a 640-meter portion of Dinalupihan is also being raised to enhance mobility and facilitate safe passage especially during the rainy season.

Engineering works such as the construction of new pavement on top of the existing one, and the addition of new culverts or drainage structures are being undertaken to reduce the vulnerability of the road to flooding and improve the drainage system.

One of the most notable improvements undertaken by NLEX Corporation was the P393-million NLEX-SCTEX integration project in 2016 which unified the toll collection of the expressways into a single, seamless system.

The project reduced the cumbersome toll collection stops and made expressway travel hassle-free.

A three-phase rehabilitation program worth ₱953.9 million was completed in the entire 94-kilometer road involving asphalt overlay and patching works to make travels safer and more comfortable.

The tollway company also repaired Porac and Gumain bridges in Pampanga as well as Pinulot, Loakan, and Cui river bridges in Dinalupihan, Bataan for ₱130.3 million. Drainages, fences, and guardrails were improved for P47.8 million.

Modernization has become a priority as a new traffic control center was put up along with closed-circuit television systems, emergency call boxes, and variable message signs to better assist motorists and enhance monitoring of traffic along the expressway.

Features such as LED lights, reflective delineator posts, and anti-glare panels were also installed in various parts of SCTEX to help motorists navigate the road safely during nighttime. All these projects cost P184.2 million. Rest stops were also constructed, and the operations center was renovated for P10.3 million.

To boost mobility and facilitate faster travel, toll lanes were added in Clark South and Tipo and new entry and exit toll plazas were built in Mabiga at a total cost of P399.2 million including preliminary works for other expansion projects.

Around P103 million was also spent for equipping the toll lanes with RFID, early detection feature as well as automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) system which is useful for identifying vehicles passing the RFID lanes without RFID stickers, those with insufficient balance, and vehicles that may pose safety hazards.

BCDA and NLEX Corp. also worked together to construct the P88.3 million New Clark City Interchange in time for the country’s hosting of the Southeast Asian Games in 2019.

Bautista said more projects have been lined up for SCTEX in the coming years involving interchange and system enhancements.

NLEX Corporation is a subsidiary of the Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC), the toll road arm of the Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC).