PULILAN, Bulacan – The ongoing upgrading of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) Candaba Viaduct, the decades-old elevated highway connecting this town, and the town of Apalit in Pampanga gained support from the public and private sectors in North and Central Luzon.
Kit Ventura, NLEX assistant vice president for corporate communications, said the Candaba Viaduct, a two 5-kilometer long independent bridges, will undergo major rehabilitation along the Manila-bound carriageway that will last until December 2020 to improve road safety and address the long-term serviceability of the structure.
This is the first of a series of upgrades slated for the viaduct that started rehabilitation on Thursday evening.
“Potential traffic congestion and queues are expected during peak hours as some Manila-bound lanes will be constructed during the replacement of several concrete link slabs along various sections of the Viaduct. These concrete components that typically connect two bridge deck spans will be replaced to restore motorist driving comfort,” Ventura said in a statement.
Pulilan Mayor Maritz Ochoa-Montejo underscored on Thursday the importance of upgrading the bridge.
“Ang rehabilitation na ito ay ipinagpapatuloy nila upang masiguro ang kaligtasan ng bawat isang motorist (The rehabilitation continues to ensure the safety of every motorist),” Montejo said in a video interview.
In line with this, other Bulacan chief executives assure to help manage the traffic on their local roads.
“Together with our traffic management team and in coordination with nearby localities, we would be exerting our best effort para mapagaan pa rin ang trapiko para sa ating mga kababayan (to ease the traffic for our provincemates),” Malolos City Mayor Gilbert Gatchalian said in a video interview.
Guiguinto Mayor Ambrosio Cruz Jr., for his part, said, “just a little patience for change, it is also for our benefit. Interventions are needed to make our trip safe.”
Also with them is Calumpit Mayor Jessie De Jesus, who said that “we know that everyone will experience inconvenience especially the impact of the re-routing of trucks, but you can expect that the town of Calumpit will join in this very important project for the benefit of every citizen.”
On the other hand, the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (PamCham) also backed the project aimed at helping revive the region’s economy while also ensuring public safety.
“To preserve the vital function of the viaduct as a critical link between the National Capital Region and the North and Central Luzon areas, upgrading and rehabilitation works are needed. We extend our support for transport infrastructure programs that will uphold and ensure the safe, unhampered, and on-time delivery of critical goods and services nationwide,” said PamCham president Renato Romero in a video interview.
During a dialogue conducted at Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center in San Fernando City among NLEX Corporation officers Pampanga-based trucking groups and other stakeholders on Thursday, Pampanga Governor Dennis Pineda regarded the project as welcome progress in the province, stating that “the Pampanga provincial government is supporting the Candaba Viaduct upgrade because this will bring greater development to us.”
Sharing the same view is Apalit, Pampanga Mayor Oscar Tetangco Jr. who said that, “Napapanahon na po ang rehabilitasyon ng viaduct kaya sinusuportahan natin ang NLEX sa hakbang na ito (It is high time for the rehabilitation of the viaduct that is why we are supporting the NLEX in this move).”
Meanwhile, NLEX Corporation president and general manager J. Luigi L. Bautista said “the Candaba Viaduct has served the Metro Manila, and Central and North Luzon road corridor for many years. We enjoin public support and understanding of the travel delays that may be caused by the upgrading.”
When completed, Bautista said, “we are optimistic that these improvements will further boost safety and provide better driving experience to our customers.”
The works will require Manila-bound motorists to slow down and utilize a temporary 31-meter fabricated steel Bailey bridge that will be installed to allow cars, vans, small trucks, and buses to cross over the link slab construction site.
“To improve safety while construction is underway, NLEX will temporarily reroute heavy 12-wheeler dump trucks from areas north of the viaduct to MacArthur Highway. These 12-wheelers may re-enter NLEX southbound via Pulilan, Sta. Rita or Tabang,” Bautista said. Manny Balbin /PNA – northboundasia.com