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MANILA, Philippines – Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC), the tollway arm of infrastructure conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), is aiming to complete the P10 billion NLEx-Harbor Link road project in time for the country’s hosting of the 23rd Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in 2015.
During the ground breaking ceremonies on Thursday, February 7, MNTC president and CEO Rodrigo Franco said that the toll road, which will connect to the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), would be completed in 24 months.
The timetable is as follows:
- the P1.7 billion Segment 9, which includes a 2.4-km stretch from Valenzuela City to MacArthur highway, will be complete in 12 months
- the P8-billion Segment 10 covering the 5.65-km from MacArthur highway all the way to circumferential Road 3 (C3) in Port Area, will be complete within 24 months
The company expects a traffic volume of 27,000 vehicles per day on Segment 9 and 30,000 vehicles per day on Segment 10.
Franco said the new roads would improve congestion for cargo trucks coming from Metro Manila.
The road projects are expected cut travel time by almost half and to create 10,000 jobs in areas such as Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, and Valenzuela (Camanava).
The projects will shorten the travel distance through the establishment of direct routes between central and north Luzon as well as the Camanava area.
By improving travel time and congestion, the project aims to stimulate commerce and development, and increase land values.
“It (NLEx-North Harbor Link) is a very good alternative to C-3 road and A. Bonifacio Ave,” said Ramon Fernandez, the president and chief executive officer of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., an MPIC unit.
The company intends to borrow about 70% of the total project cost through domestic borrowings starting from that latter half of 2012 until early 2013.
MNTC operates the NLEx, as well as the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Exressway (SCTEX).
MNTC has already completed the P2.1-billion Segment 8.1 or the Smart Connect interchange covering 2.7 kilometers from Valenzuela City to Mindanao Ave. in Quezon City in 2011.
APEC Summit 2015
The Philippines is expected to host the APEC Summit in November 2015 following China in 2014. The country last hosted the APEC Summit in November of 1996.
Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) secretary Rogelio Singson said the Aquino administration is committed to increasing the infrastructure spending of the Philippines to 5% of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2016 from the current level of 2.6%.
Singson said the agency’s budget for this year was increased by 55% to P129 billion from about P82.8 billion in 2012.
About 25% of the total infrastructure budget would go to Mindanao, 22% to Northern Luzon, and 20% to Southern Luzon. – Rappler.com