“The right-of-way acquisition is not being done, and once the areas to be traversed are turned over by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), MNTC will construct construction by the fourth quarter of this year,” said MNTC president and chief executive officer Rodrigo Franco in briefing local media here.
Franco said the project “will be MNTC’s first expressway development under the administration of Pres. Aquino.” The MNTC is part of the Metro Pacific Group headed by Manuel V. Pangilinan and is the concessionaire for the NLEX.
The entire project costing P8 billion would be funded entirely by the MNTC, he said.
He noted that the project was “designed to help decongest traffic in Metro Manila as it provides alternative west access to the NLEX main line and thus skirting EDSA and the Balintawak interchange.
A direct route will be established to the Camanava and North Manila areas from North and Central Luzon, and provide cargo trucks from the Manila harbors will have immediate access to the NLEX.
“There is a proposal for such trucks to be exempted from the truck ban since they would no longer add up to the clogging of streets in Metro Manila,” he added.
“The NLEX-Harbor Link will be undertaken as a public-private partnership to help fill the vital need for infrastructure investments in the country. The government will procure the right-of-way while the MNTC will design, build, finance and operate the expressway as part of the company’s Manila North Expressway concession,” Franco explained.
He said that to save on project cost, the MNTC plans to build a substantial length of the NLEX-Harbor Link as elevated road over the old railways of the Philippine National Railways (PNR).
“With the eight-kilometer project, the MNTC would be primed to further expand the NLEX towards western Metro Manila,” he said, adding that the detailed engineering design for the project is set to be finished this February.
Franco said the project would include the construction of an extension of the main NLEX to the Manila North Road, sometimes called the MacArthur highway, in Valenzuela City, and eventually to the C-3 Road which leads to the Port Area.
Franco also said that the NLEX-Harbor Link would also “set the stage for the Connector Road which is the 13-kilometer elevated expressway that will connect NLEX from C-3 to Skayway in Buendia Avenue in Makati City.”
“MNTC has taken preparatory steps, notably the coordination with pertinent government agencies in connection with the project that forms part of Phase 2 of the Manila North Expressway concession,” he said. The project is already covered by an environmental clearance certificate (ECC) from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Franco also said that the NLEX-Harbor Link project “comes on the heels of the completion last June of Segment 8.1 which links NLEX main in Valenzuela City to Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City.”