NLEX-SCTEX integration ready by Holy Week

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Motorists using the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) should expect their trips cut down by up to 40 minutes when the P650 million project integrating the two is completely done by March 19, 2016.

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Manila North Tollways Corporation (MNTC) Assistant Vice President for Traffic and Operations Management Glenn Campos said in press conference held on January 27 at The Lighthouse Marina Resort in Subic that the integration will reduce toll-plaza stops from Balintawak exit to just two from the five currently needed to get to Subic and back, and the four to get to Tarlac and back.

The project primarily involves removing the giant toll barriers along NLEX and SCTEX, often major congestion points along the expressways, and replacing these with smaller toll booths at the exit ramps. For one, the NLEX Dau toll plaza will be demolished for booths at the Dau and Santa Ines exits.

At SCTEX, the Mabalacat toll plaza will be replaced by booths at Mabiga exit, while a new SCTEX Tarlac toll plaza will replace the one in La Paz. Finally, MNTC is putting up a Tipo toll barrier and removing the Subic Freeport Expressway or SFEX toll plaza.

Campos said the integration will include installing new equipment to allow motorists to use the Easytrip electronic payment system in both NLEX and SCTEX. He also said toll fees remain the same despite the changes because the Toll Regulatory Board has not yet granted the company’s request for a 15-percent toll hike.

MNTC, a division of Metro Pacific Investments Corporation, that also manages NLEX, took control of SCTEX in October 2015.

VJ BACUNGAN

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