The Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC), operator of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), said higher vehicle traffic boosted its revenue for the first half by 5.5 percent to P3.8 billion, but it also cited the need for a road widening to decongest the expressway particularly in key toll exits.
“Revenue from January to June of 2014 [stood]at P3.8 billion from P3.6 billion in 2013,” Rodrigo Franco, president and chief executive officer of MNTC, said.
The company said that average daily traffic on NLEX reached 185,300 vehicles in the first half of 2014 versus 173,200 vehicles in 2013.
“Traffic is up over 6 percent,” Franco said.
MNTC earlier said it was planning to submit a proposal to the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) to widen the NLEX from Bocaue, Bulacan up to the whole stretch of San Fernando City, Pampanga.
The road-widening plan will help decongest traffic at NLEX toll exits especially during Easter, Christmas and All Saint’s Day when people go to their hometowns in the northern part of Luzon.
“The studies are still ongoing. Hopefully in the next two months we can submit the proposal to the TRB,” Franco said.
“From Bocaue up to San Fernando, we are expanding from two lanes to three lanes,” Franco added.
Last year, MNTC said that it was planning to spend at least P4 billion for the expansion of NLEX.
Two sections will be expanded, namely the stretch from Dau to Santa Ines and from Santa Rita to San Fernando, both cutting across Pampanga province. MNTC is planning to add three lanes for each direction to the Santa Rita to San Fernando segment.
Franco said that the vehicular flow in that segment is beginning to increase although it has not yet reached critical levels.
Citing pronouncements from TRB, he said that sooner or later, the NLEX would reach its service quality level limit.
NLEX is set to hit critical stage by 2018, according to a TRB assessment.
Meanwhile, the Dau to Santa Ines segment currently has two lanes with one lane in each direction. The expansion project will start as soon as MNTC acquires the notice to proceed from the TRB.
Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) is the parent company of MNTC. MPTC is a subsidiary of conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corp., which is led by tycoon Manuel Pangilinan.