DPWH Secretary Mark Villar said the newly-constructed road project will help decongest major thoroughfares in the National Capital Region and will also lessen travel time between Quezon City and Manila to just 15 to 20 minutes.
“This project will connect ports directly to R-10. It will shorten the travel from Manila port to NLEX, it will be cut to 10 minutes (unlike) before when travel time is over one hour,” he said in Filipino in a taped interview on the sidelines of the launch aired over the Laging Handa briefing.
He added that the road segment is open to all vehicles.
“The expectation is many trucks will use it since it is near the ports. It is open to all types of vehicles,” he said.
Asked on whether additional toll fees will be charged from motorists for the use of the road segment, Villar said this is still up for discussion.
“As of press time, there is no additional toll but it is being discussed at the TRB (Toll Regulatory Board). The new toll is included in the open system of NLEX. There will be a slight adjustment on the toll. I think the impact on the overall rates in the whole system of NLEX will only be minimal,” he said.
The completion of the 2.6-kilometer new section shall connect the Port Area in Manila to NLEX and includes three exit off-ramps: Segment 10-C3 Ramp to Caloocan City, Dagat-Dagatan Ramp to Malabon City and C3-R10 Ramp to Navotas City.
The NLEX Harbor Link is one of the high impact projects under the ‘Build, Build, Build’ Infrastructure Program and is the first project to be completed during the general community quarantine (GCQ).
Aside from Villar, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea graced the event as keynote speaker together with Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Vivencio ‘Vince’ Dizon, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade, and Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar.
Also present during the opening of the Link are: Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC) president and CEO Rodrigo E. Franco, and NLEX Corporation president and general manager J. Luigi L. Bautista.
Meanwhile, Andanar hailed the speedy completion of the new road segment despite the temporary halt of operations while on community quarantine.
He said President Rodrigo Roa Duterte early on launched a massive infrastructure program, called “Build, Build, Build,” that “intended to connect the people of our islands across waterways and connect them likewise within the cities of our islands”.
“Commerce and industry are to converge in a nationwide interchange of mobility, while perspectives are broadened through immersion in subcultures brought about by movement. These effects of mobility strengthen us as a people and as a nation,” he said in a statement.
Andanar said the initiative will also ease the burden of daily commuters, as the administration maintains its commitment to providing a comfortable life for every Filipino.
“The completion of this project during a devastating pandemic is testimony to the resilience and fortitude of our government – rising to the challenge of building a nation despite a period of crisis,” he said. “We join the nation in congratulating the constructors and the personnel of the different government agencies that contributed to the success of this undertaking.”
With this completion, motorists, especially cargo trucks from the port area can now enjoy improved road network access between R10 in Navotas City and NLEX.
Medialdea, who represented Duterte during the ceremony, also congratulated DPWH and its partner implementing agencies.
“I would just like to congratulate the Metro Pacific, NLEX, and DPWH for this simple but significant event. Lumiliit na po ang Metro Manila (is becoming crowded),” he said.
The new NLEX Harbor Link section features the new Caloocan interchange (with on and off ramps along Grace Park), the new Malabon Exit (with off ramp on Dagat-Dagatan Avenue) and the new Navotas Interchange (with on and off ramps on North Bay Boulevard South). It lengthens the existing Harbor Link (the 2.42-kilometer Segment 9 between the NLEX Interchange to Bgy. Karuhatan, Valenzuela City, and the 5.65-kilometer Segment 10 between Bgy. Karuhatan to the new Caloocan Interchange in Grace Park C3/5th Avenue).
The elevated expressway, which is envisioned to improve the road sector’s network and eventually upgrade Luzon’s supply chain, is seen to benefit around 30,000 vehicles per day.
The new section will introduce an alternative route for motorists, especially truckers, currently affected by traffic chokepoints along Quezon Avenue, Edsa, and A. Bonifacio Avenue.
Cargo trucks will enjoy 24/7 access as there is no truck ban along NLEX.
Motorists using the entire Harbor Link are also assured of the same safety features and high-quality pavement that they have been used to along the NLEX.
The DPWH and NLEX Corporation are also targeting the completion of the new exit ramp towards the Navotas Fish Port Complex before the end of the year.