Thus, said Mayor Marino “Boking” Morales in the planned full diamond interchange at the Mabiga NLEx-SCTEx link as announced last week by Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC) AVP for technology and operations management Glenn G. Campos.
During the unveiling of the state-of-the art traffic control room (TCR) at the Toll Operations Center Building (TOCB) in Barangay Dolores here last Wednesday, Campos said the full diamond interchange will eliminate the U-turn slot along the NLEx-SCTEx link in Barangay Mabiga which is “dangerous and actually unsafe practice for toll road operation.”
Campos said, “A full diamond interchange in the Mabiga stretch will physically eliminate the U-turn slot.”
He added that, “that is happening this year because we have already fi nished the detailed engineering design (DED).”
The DED for the diamond interchange as well as for additional lanes for the Tipo toll plaza were completed and approved by the Independent Design Consultant last January, according to Campos.
Morales said the diamond interchange will serve as a safe and convenient travel for motorists going to or passing through this city which is being heralded as the next “Makati North of Manila.”
Campos said when the MNTC took over the operation and maintenance of the SCTEx in October 2015 and completed its integration to the NLEx in 2016 in time for Holy Week, it paved the construction of new toll barriers in Tarlac and Tipo since the old Subic Freeport expressway barriers have been taken down.
He said it also completed the construction of new toll plazas in Barangay Mabiga here – the Mabiga north bound exit and the Mabiga south bound entry – since the 12-lane Mabalacat and Dau toll plazas have been demolished.
This benefited motorists since it minimized transactions from five to only two because of the NLEx-SCTEx integration, he said.
“Motorists are now enjoying the completed pavement upgrade of our first phase in the SCTEx from Porac to Concepcion,” he said.
“This is part of the P1 billion capital expenditure that we are allocating fort the improvement of the pavement in SCTEx,” he pointed out.
“This year we already started phases two and three of the project. Phase Two is actually the remaining unimproved pavement in the Subic side from Subic to Floridablanca,” Campos said. “Phase Three is the balance of the Floridablanca and Porac pavement upgrade and also the Tarlac portion.”
“All-in-all by mid-year, the pavement upgrade will be completed for the entire SCTEx,” Campos said.
“We continue to make studies and improvements in making sure that our capacities in the toll plazas are adequate,” he said. “We are also having improvement in NLEx.”
Campos also announced technology upgrades in the telecommunications backbone and system which is now at par with cutting edge technology while also at the same time resilient.
“We are able to install and commission a Carrier Ethernet Network Backbone which is being used to transport voice and data communications requirement within the expressway up to NLEx,” he said.
“We also upgraded our radio system from analog to digital radio communications system using Motorolla Digital Mobile Radio Communications System covering the entire stretch of the SCTEx with four digital based repeater stations and we have equipped our patrol vehicles and maintenance crews with portable and mobile units,” he addsaid.
Campos said the MNTC also rehabilitated the toll booths “which uplifts the condition of the toll tellers.”
He said, “We have upgraded, supplied and commissioned 47 units new lane status indicators in various locations addressing motorists complaints that they are not able to realize if the lane is open or close or intended for EC tags.
Campos said the MNTC also improved the lighting system in toll plazas using LED floodlights and replacing the HPS lighting to LED lighting.
The TOCB has also been improved with brand new air conditioning, high capacity uninterrupted power supply (UPS) and auto-volt regulators (AVR).
“Without these we used to have many equipment failures because of erratic voltage in our power supply,” he said.
“Since we now have state-of-the-art equipment inn place, we needed to make sure that they are operating 24/7, 365 days a year. Some of those are sensitive in humidity and air conditioning and so we have installed precision air conditioning,” he said.
“In all the toll plazas in SCTEx, to make sure our equipment are protected from surges either from power sources or lightning, we have installed Protec Transient Voltage Surge Suppression and lightning protection system which can record how many times toll plazas are being bit by lightning,” he said.
“If we have this record, we are able to improve our grounding system to make sure our equipment and toll operation and even personnel won’t be aff ected by lightning,” he added.
Campos said during long brownouts, some operational upgrades have been done “to make sure we will have adequate fuel so that we can sustain at least 24 hours of operation.”
“This is in addition to 105 CCTV cameras installed in interchanges, toll booths, toll plazas, traffic cameras and security cameras within the TOCB,” he said.
“We need a reliable network video recording system and a reliable monitoring system that has to be consolidated into one location which is now the new SCTEX TCR which is manned by traffic management specialists,” Campos said.
Meanwhile, Morales said other infrastructure development in the city included the recent groundbreaking of the new public cemetery in Barangay Atlubola; establishment of a new police and new fire stations in Barangay Dau; the opening of new gates along the Clark-Mabalacat- Angeles Road (CMAR) in barangays San Joaquin, Mabiga and Dau; the rehabilitation of the new Mabalacat Public Market; lighting of the Mawaque-Madapdap Road and the Sta. Ines-Bundagul Road.