The construction of the integrated and all-elevated expressway connection between the North and South Luzon expressways has started, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said.
DPWH Secretary Mark Villar inspected the NLEX Connector construction site along the Philippine National Railways tracks in Caloocan City together with officials of NLEX Corporation and construction company D.M. Consunji Inc. (DMCI).
Earlier, NLEX Corp. formally awarded the main works contract to DMCI for the first five-kilometer section of the NLEX connector road from Grace Park, Caloocan City to España Boulevard in Sampaloc, Manila.
Spanning a total of eight kilometers, the full NLEX Connector will be an all-weather, all vehicle class elevated expressway that will traverse the new Caloocan Interchange in 5th Avenue/C3 Road in Caloocan City, pass through España and eventually link up with the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 at PUP Sta. Mesa in Manila.
Villar was also present during the formal awarding of the main civil works contract to DMCI together with Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC) president and chief executive officer Rodrigo E. Franco, NLEX Corporation president and general manager J. Luigi L. Bautista, NLEX Corporation chief operating officer (COO) Raul L. Ignacio, DMCI president and CEO Jorge A. Consunji, DMCI associate managing director Christopher R. Rodriguez, and DMCI senior vice president for business strategy and development, Rebecca E. Civil.
The contract covers the main civil works for the Caloocan-España section.
The NLEX Connector will continue the NLEX southward from NLEX Harbor Link Segment 10 from the new Caloocan Interchange.
The project will utilize portions of the existing right-of-way (ROW) of the Philippine National Railways (PNR).
The PNR’s ROW will be shared by the NLEX Connector project and the North South Commuter Railway (NSCR), currently also under construction.
Around 35,000 motorists, especially cargo trucks, who are expected to benefit from the project, will be spared using Metro Manila’s congested city roads since they will traverse their routes mostly above the PNR alignment.
Just before the awarding, Villar visited the project site and urged the fast-tracking of the turnover of the ROW.
“We are committed to accelerating the ROW acquisition in order to build traffic solutions for our motorists,” he said in a statement.
The new Caloocan Interchange will serve as a strategic converging point for the 5.65-kilometer NLEX Harbor Link Segment 10, the 2.6-kilometer R-10 section, and the eight-kilometer NLEX Connector.
Since its groundbreaking witnessed by President Rodrigo Duterte last February 28, several constructions have been achieved and the engineering works have progressed.
“Upon full completion in 2021, the NLEX Connector will significantly cut travel time from NLEX to SLEX by at least 60 percent. Instead of the usual two hours, travel time will now be reduced to about 20 minutes,” Villar said.
“Likewise, it will provide improved accessibility for cargo trucks bound for the Manila Ports (North and South Harbor) and the international airports such as NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) and Clark,” he added.
For his part, Bautista is confident that their team including their contractor, and government partners will work together to deliver high-quality elevated expressway.
“We are looking forward to provide further convenience to our motorists as the NLEX Connector aims to decongest major thoroughfares such Edsa and C5,” he said.
Aside from providing a solution to traffic congestion in Metro Manila, the NLEX Connector is also expected to stimulate economic development in Manila, Caloocan, Malabon, and Navotas, as well as its surrounding areas.
The NLEX Connector is one of the first Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects awarded by the Duterte administration in 2016. (PNA)