Expressways to swell due to Holy Week traffic
MANILA, Philippines – Toll roads would be chock-full this Holy Week as the number of vehicles to and from Metro Manila are expected to rise to double-digit levels.
Manila North Tollways Corporation president Rodrigo Franco said on Tuesday, March 24, that the volume of vehicles using the 86.7-kilometer North Luzon expressway (NLEX) and 94-km Subic-Clark-Tarlac expressway (SCTEX) is expected to balloon due to the exodus of motorists traveling to and from the provinces this Lenten season.
MNTC is the tollways arm of infrastructure heavyweight Metro Pacific Investments Corporation.
Northbound traffic is expected to build up in the afternoon of April 1, Holy Wednesday until late morning of April 2, Maundy Thursday, MNTC Assistant Vice President for Technology and Operations Management Glenn Campos said.
Campos added that heavy traffic for motorists traveling back to Manila is expected to start in the afternoon of April 4, Black Saturday, up to late evening of April 5, Easter Sunday.
Specifically, traffic in NLEX is expected to increase by 11.1% to 200,000 vehicles per day from the average daily traffic of 180,000.
SCTEX traffic, meanwhile, is seen to grow from 10% and 15% to a range of 26,400 to 27,600 per day from the daily average 24,000 vehicles.
But traffic volume on the 13.5-km Manila-Cavite Toll Expressway (CAVITEX) is expected to remain low during the Lenten break, Franco said at the launch of the "Safe Trip mo Sagot ko (SMSK), Holy Week 2015" campaign.
Motorist assistance program
In anticipation of such heavy traffic volume in the 3 expressways, MNTC mobilized the SMSK motorist assistance program.
SMSK motorist camps would be located in all fuel stations in NLEX – one in a fuel station in Subic Freeport expressway, another before the Parañaque toll plaza exit, and at the Kawit toll plaza along CAVITEX.
SMSK Express Cards would also be sold to motorists using Class 1 vehicles carrying a 5% discount on toll rates, Franco said.
Campos explained that cash-paying motorists bound for the far north would no longer stop at the Dau North Bound barrier to pay, and should pay toll at the Mabalacat Barrier in SCTEX.
However, Easytrip subscribers should still pass through their designated exit lanes at the Dau North Bound barrier.
Three temporary collection points would also be opened at the Dau North Bound flyover, Sta Ines, and Mabalacat on April 1 and 2. For Class 1 motorists entering SCTEX plazas other than Mabalacat and bound for either Tarlac or Subic, toll fee based on their entry point would also be collected in advance.
"Motorists are advised to surrender their stubs upon exit since this will serve as their proof of payment. This advance payment scheme is being implemented in order to minimize queue length at Tarlac and Subic toll plazas," Campos said.
Southbound gates at the Dau South Bound Barrier would be opened on April 4 and 5. Manila-bound cash-paying motorists would no longer need to stop at the Dau South Bound barrier for the transit ticket.
About 20 additional portable booths would also be set up at the Bocaue barrier to speed up payment of Manila-bound vehicles.
Road works would also be suspended starting Friday, March 27, and will resume on April 6, MNTC announced. – Rappler.com