SUBIC, Zambales – NLEX Corp. yesterday formally began the construction of the P1.57-billion capacity expansion of the 8.2-kilometer Subic Freeport expressway (SFEX) aimed at improving traffic safety and easing travel time to and from the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.
Luigi Bautista, NLEX Corp. president and general manager, said the project is targeted for completion by September 2020 and is expected to boost Subic’s competitiveness in trade and tourism industries.
“One of the key drivers of economic growth is a network of high-quality roads. The NLEX Corp. through NLEX (North Luzon expressway), SCTEX (Subic-Clark-Tarlac expressway), and the soon-to-be expanded SFEX not only intends to accelerate development, but also hopes to encourage travel convenience and road safety,” Bautista said.
The company tapped Sta Clara International Corp. as contractor for the SFEX expansion.
SFEX was built as an alternate access to the Gapan to San Fernando, Pampanga road going to Subic. Currently, SFEX is integrated at SCTEX at Tipo toll plaza
The SFEX capacity expansion entails constructing two additional expressway lanes, two new bridges at Jadjad and Argonaut, and a new tunnel. This will increase road capacity from one lane to two lanes in each direction.
The new bridges and a tunnel will be constructed parallel to the existing ones. The new tunnel resembles a horseshoe that will provide structural stability against earth pressure.
Also included in the project are the installation of expressway-standard LED lights to improve motorists’ visibility when driving at night, the raising of the Maritan Highway-Rizal Highway-Tipo Road junction, and the enhancement of the drainage system to help alleviate flooding in the area.
“The project will help sustain Subic’s position as a globally competitive trade and tourism hub,” said Wilma Eisma, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) chairman and administrator.
“This road expansion will complement SBMA’s infrastructure development program and promotion of Subic as an ideal shipping gateway for businesses in Central and North Luzon,” Eisma added.
Signaling the start of the project was a groundbreaking ceremony led by Bautista; Eisma; Zambales Rep. Jeffrey Konghun; Board Member Reinhard Jeresano; Hermosa, Bataan Mayor Antonio Joseph Inton; and Abraham Sales, Toll Regulatory Board executive director.
A ceremonial tree planting was also held to signify NLEX Corp.’s commitment to plant more trees to replace those affected by the ongoing road project.
“Environmental awareness has always been part of our sustainable development strategy that is why we will conduct tree planting activities in the coming months to help reduce carbon emissions and contribute to cleaner air and healthier ecology along the SFEX,” Bautista said.
NLEX Corp. is a subsidiary of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., the tollways unit of Metro Pacific Investments Corp.