Highway operators gear up for holiday exodusBy Jeannette I. Andrade
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The operators of the North Luzon and Subic, Clark-Tarlac Expressways are expecting the unexpected as they prepare for the mass exodus of tens of thousands of motorists out of Metro Manila for next week’s commemoration of All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day.
At the launch Monday of “Oplan Ligtas na Biyahe-Undas 2012” in Quezon City, Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) Executive Director Edmund Reyes said the primary objective of the NLEx and the SCTEx managements would be to “make this Undas even safer than the last one.”
Reyes said such preparations, including a graphic realtime update of the tollway traffic flow, would enable an estimated 50,000 northbound motorists to plan their trips more properly.
As part of the preparations, additional traffic and security personnel will be deployed on expressways starting Oct. 25 to ensure the convenient travel of motorists.
In anticipation of the traffic buildup at the expressway entry points starting Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, NLEx vice president for corporate communications Marlene Ochoa said that ambulant tellers would be dispatched to the Balintawak, Mindanao Avenue and Dau toll plazas to facilitate toll payment.
According to Ochoa, spare lanes would likewise be opened on All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day at the Dau toll plaza.
An average of 3,000 to 3,500 vehicles per hour are anticipated to pass through NLEx and SCTEx on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.
At the SCTEx, manual and counterflow lanes will be opened beginning Oct. 31 at the San Miguel and Tarlac exits to accommodate the large volume of province-bound motorists.
To address the traffic congestion on the trip back to Metro Manila on Nov. 3 and Nov. 4, NLEx would deploy ambulant tellers at the Bocaue toll plaza while the SCTEx will set up manual toll booths at the Mabalacat toll plaza.
All roadwork on the expressways will be suspended from Oct. 28 to Nov. 4.
Ochoa said that to enable motorists to better plan their trips to the provinces, the NLEx would provide online travel advisories and real-time traffic updates through its North Luzon Integrated Guide and Travel Advisory System (Nligtas).
She said the 24-hour information service, which would also be posted on the NLEx’s variable message signs, would include estimated travel time advisories from one point of the expressway to another.