Key tollways operational this year

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    Major expressway projects of San Miguel Corp. (SMC) and Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) are on track to be operational this year despite the coronavirus pandemic, easing traffic congestion in Metro Manila and Metro Cebu.

    Diversifying conglomerate SMC announced a one-month free toll on the official opening of the 18-kilometer Skyway Stage 3 project by January 14. This will connect the North Luzon expressway (NLEx) and South Luzon expressway (SLEx).

    The P37.45-billion project is seen to dramatically reduce travel time between Makati to NLEx to only 20 minutes, and Alabang and NLEx to only 30 minutes.

    The Skyway Stage 3 project will connect to the NLEx Harbor Link via the NLEx-SLEx Connector in 2021 and is a critical component of the EDSA Decongestion Project.

    When the project is fully opened in January 14, at least 55,000 vehicles is expected to be diverted from EDSA, C5 (Circumferential road 5), and other major thoroughfares.

    The P10-billion Skyway extension project’s target operation was moved to first quarter this year, following the crane incident last year. The project aims to reduce traffic buildup along SLEx heading to Alabang and the Alabang viaduct.

    The Skyway extension will expand capacity by adding three lanes northbound and two lanes southbound. Four expressway projects of MPTC which operational this year include the P23.3-billion NLEx Connector project.

    The first section the NLEx Connector road, which runs from Grace Park, Caloocan City to España St., Sampaloc, Manila, will be operational this year. The second section -from España to the Polytechnic University of the Philippines – will be completed in 2022.

    The P23.3-billion NLEX connector project is expected to divert at least 35,000 motorists daily from EDSA and C5.

    The P30-billion Cebu-Cordova Link expressway (CCLEx) is also set to be completed this year and will connect mainland Cebu from Cebu City to Cordova in Mactan Island.

    The project will have two lanes in each direction and will cater to an estimated 50,000 vehicles daily, easing the traffic in the existing Marcelo Fernan and Mandaue-Mactan bridges.

    The new and expanded section of the 8.2-km Subic Freeport expressway (SFEx) is temporarily open from December 28 to January 15 from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. to serve motorists coming in and out of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone during the holiday season. Currently, the new SFEx road is 92 percent complete. Construction continues on the remaining work.

    The NLEx Candaba viaduct upgrading project is also set to be completed this year.

    Consisting of two 5-km independent bridges, Candaba viaduct – the decades-old elevated highway connecting Pulilan, Bulacan and Apalit, Pampanga – is under major rehabilitation along the Manila-bound carriageway to improve road safety and address the long-term serviceability of the structure.