Weathered steel bridge along CMAR. FB photograb
CLARK FREEPORT – Construction of the northern extension of the Clark-Mabalacat-Angeles Road (CMAR) along the east perimeter fence of this freeport which is widely seen to ease the horrendous traffic at this freeport’s Mabalacat Gate during rush hour will soon start.
This was the assurance made by Mayor Crisostomo C. Garbo during the media forum “Balitaan” organized by the Capampangan in Media, Inc.in cooperation with the Clark Development Corp. at the Bale Balita here last Friday.
Garbo said the right-of-way problem at CMAR’s northern extension and exit in Barangay Dolores, Mabalacat City which hinders its opening is now with the legal department of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority.
“We will begin the construction of the extension which is about 70 meters by February or March next year,” Garbo said.
The mayor explained that “the original northern exit of CMAR is at Imelda Marcos Avenue in Barangay San Joaquin but we pushed for its further extension to the north in an area called ‘engineer’’ in front of the Marina Golf Course in Barangay Dolores. Now, the request for extension was approved in 2020 but the exit is blocked by the Dolores chapel which will be moved. There is now a budget for that and the only thing being cleared now is the right-of-way leading to the exit to MacArthur Highway where 15 houses will be affected.”
As it is, the Mabalacat Gate as well as the roads leading to and from it are scenes of traffic jams during rush hour to the consternation of motorists, the commuting public as well as residents of Sitio Agusu in Barangay San Francisco where motorists are rerouted during rush-hour.
With the opening of the extension and construction of the exit leading to the MacArthur Highway, motorists exiting this freeport heading north will no longer have to pass through the heavily congested Mabalacat City downtown area. Only motorists exiting the Mabalacat Gate going to the North Luzon Expressway can now easily pass through the downtown area.
It was widely rumored then the CMAR extension was closed because a prominent family in the area did not like it because it will bring traffic in their otherwise peaceful environment.
It can be recalled that CMAR was opened in 2017. Then Mabalacat City Mayor Marino “Boking” Morales announced that the Dau-Clark Gate of the CMAR will be opened soon leading to the newly paved, widened and lighted Quezon Drive in Barangay Dau toward the MacArthur Highway under a tripartite agreement with the Clark Development Corp., the city government and Barangay Dau.
Morales said then that this would help ease traffic along the busy MacArthur Highway.
Morales also said the Mabiga-Clark Gate at the CMAR will also be opened, passing through Mabiga Island Resort in the village. This will provide an alternate route to motorists going to the Clark Freeport Zone, he said.
The San Joaquin-Clark Gate (Imelda Marcos Avenue) and road extension at the CMAR would also that year (2017), Morales said then.
The project was billed at P130 million and would have a bridge component funded by the CDC.
But as of this time despite the completion of road and bridge component of the extension, it remained closed prompting some groups to denounce it as a white elephant.