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CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga — The Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC) on Monday said that some PHP153-billion expansion projects are now in the pipeline, including the PHP23.3-B NLEX-SLEX Connector Road, to help traffic decongestion initiatives of the government.

This was disclosed during the press conference of the MPTC’s “Safe Trip Mo Sagot Ko” (SMSK) motorist assistance program for the coming Holy Week held on Monday at the Novotel Manila Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City.

MPTC president Rodrigo Franco said other public-private partnership (PPP) projects and expansion projects are the PHP55.9-B Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX) and the PHP11.7-B Cavitex C5 South Link to link expressways in the North and the South.

In the Visayas, Franco said construction of the PHP27.9 Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway has also started.

The projects are envisioned to support the government’s “Build Build Build” infrastructure program aimed at moving the country forward by improving the economy of new growth corridors in Luzon and VisMin with infrastructures that facilitate faster and efficient transport of people and goods.

Aside from the PPP projects, he said MPTC is also increasing the capacity of NLEX by constructing additional lanes and exits, and expanding toll plazas and interchanges.

He said the SCTEX pavement and traffic management and safety enhancements are also being upgraded.

A total cost of PHP1.8-B has been invested in these upgrades along the NLEX and the SCTEX.

Franco said the expansion projects, along with MPTC’s yearly motorist assistance program, are meant to give more convenience to motorists, particularly during Holy Week where there is a 15 percent increase in traffic in MPTC’s expressways.

“The expansion projects will hopefully ease up travel time while the SMSK will enhance all services along the NLEX, SCTEX and CAVITEX for a safe and comfortable journey,” he said.

With these projects in the pipeline, the MPTC head said there will be a great improvement in traffic decongestion in Metro Manila as they embark on more infrastructure projects to connect the North and the South.

“These investments, along with the enhanced services of the SMSK during Holy Week and other holidays, will hopefully shorten the time spent by motorists on the road, so that they can have more time for productive work and more quality time for their loved ones,” Franco added.

Meanwhile, the MPTC issued travel advisory for motorists going to the North Luzon this coming Holy Week.

Heavy volume of vehicles is expected in the afternoon of April 12 until late morning of April 13.

Those traveling back to Manila may expect the surge in traffic in the afternoon of April 15 until the early morning of April 17.

From April 7 to 17, additional patrol vehicles and enforcers will be deployed to assist motorists.

Ambulant toll tellers equipped with portable toll collection gadgets will be fielded to speed up toll transactions.

Likewise during this period, road works will be suspended to ensure smooth traffic flow.

To better serve motorists, on April 7, 8, 12, and 13, the Balintawak Toll Plaza will open a maximum of 30 toll collection points instead of the usual 16, and the Mindanao Avenue Toll Plaza will also increase its toll collection points to 15 from 5.

Toll collection points in Tarlac Toll Plaza will become 29 instead of 5, while the Tipo Toll Plaza will have 12 toll collection points instead of 4.

Southbound motorists may also experience further convenience from April 15 to 16 as the Bocaue Toll Plaza opens a maximum of 53 toll collection points.

On April 12 to 16, MPTC and its partners will provide free services such as free calls and Wi-Fi, free basic mechanic services and first aid treatments in designated locations along NLEX, SCTEX, and CAVITEX.

Free towing services to the nearest exit will be offered to Class 1 vehicles from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Free drinking water will also be available at SMSK Motorist Camps in SCTEX PTT Station, Floridablanca lay-by, Seaoil Station and CAVITEX Parañaque and Kawit toll plazas. (pna)

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