(BREAKING GROUND. Going over the rites are (L-R) BCDA VP Jake Bingcang, Zambales board member Reinhard Jeresano, NLEx Corp. COO Raul Ignacio, Hermosa Mayor Jopet Inton, NLEx Corp. pesident J. Luigi Bautista, NLEx Corp. VP for tollway development and engineering Nemesio Castillo, SBMA chair Amy Eisma, NLEx Corp. SVP for communication and stakeholder management Romulo Quimbo Jr. Photo by Ashley Manabat)
NLEX CORPORATION is going full blast with the 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.
Signaling the start of this milestone project is a groundbreaking ceremony led by NLEx Corporation President and General Manager J. Luigi L. Bautista, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma, Zambales 1st District Representative Jeffrey Konghun, Board Member Reinhard Jeresano, Hermosa, Bataan Mayor Antonio Joseph Inton, and Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) Executive Director Abraham Sales.
The SFEX Capacity Expansion entails construction of two additional expressway lanes, two new bridges at Jadjad and Argonaut, and a new tunnel. This will increase road capacity from one lane in each direction 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 P1.6-billion project are the installation of expressway- standard LED lights as part of the tollway company’s efforts to improve motorists’ visibility when driving at night; the raising of Maritan Highway-Rizal Highway-Tipo Road junction; and the enhancement of the drainage system to help alleviate flooding in the area.
“One of the key drivers of economic growth is a network of high-quality roads. The NLEX Corporation through NLEX, SCTEX, and the soon-to-be expanded SFEX not only intends to accelerate development, but also hopes to encourage travel convenience and road safety,” NLEX Corporation President and General Manager J. Luigi L. Bautista said.
Target for completion by September 2020, the SFEX Capacity Expansion is seen to enhance accessibility and promote travel efficiency on this key road that connects Bataan and Zambales. It is also expected to boost Subic’s competitiveness in trade and tourism industries.
“The project will help sustain Subic’s position as a globally competitive trade and tourism hub,” said SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma, adding that “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.”
Looking forward to the SFEX Capacity Expansion Project is Congressman Jeffrey Konghun who believes that improvements in the road network will significantly benefit the province of Zambales.
“Because of the smoother and easier travel that this project will bring, our province will be more viable for local and foreign investments,” Konghun noted.
Following the groundbreaking ceremony, a ceremonial tree planting was also held to signify NLEX Corporation’s commitment to plant more trees in its bid 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 explained.
The NLEX Corporation is a subsidiary of the Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC), the tollways unit of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC).