Express exits to be set up for users of NLEx, SCTEx
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—Express exits will be set up for motorists with special cards, while roadworks will be suspended on the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) and Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) to ensure smooth traffic flow this Holy Week.
Tollways Management Corp. (TMC), operator of the two expressways, expects the number of vehicle users to increase by 10 to 15 percent as people leave Metro Manila for the provinces.
NLEx normally serves 180,000 vehicles daily, while SCTEx serves 24,000 on regular days, Francisco Dagohoy, TMC information officer, said in a statement on Monday.
In Pangasinan, northbound traffic along the Manila North Road (MNR) in Urdaneta City in Pangasinan province has begun to build up as well, according to the city’s police chief.
Vehicles bound for Baguio City and the Ilocos provinces merge with the MNR traffic after exiting from the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx) in Urdaneta.
Motorists bound for the south, whether on spiritual pilgrimage or headed to a summer getaway, are advised to prepare for their travel as authorities project a higher volume of traffic during the Lenten exodus.
Some 305,000 vehicles are expected to drive down south during the Holy Week, or around 70 percent higher than last year’s 179,000 over the same period, said Chito Silbol, traffic and security manager of South Luzon Expressway.
To address an increased vehicle volume of up to 200,000, TMC will open the gates of the Dau northbound barrier in Mabalacat City, Pampanga province, from 2 p.m. of Wednesday to 4 p.m. of Thursday.
“Cash-paying motorists bound for far north will no longer stop at the Dau northbound barrier to pay. Instead, toll payments will be processed at the Mabalacat barrier in SCTEx,” Dagohoy said.
Silbol advised motorists to prepare smaller bills, if not exact amounts, for the toll, “a small thing they could do so as not to add anymore (hassle) to the queue.”
Easytrip subscribers who are going north will still pass through designated exit lanes at Dau. Three temporary collection points will be opened on April 1 and 2 at the Dau northbound flyover at the end of the NLEx in Sta. Ines, Mabalacat.
Motorists driving Class 1 vehicles (cars) from Balintawak to Tarlac province will pay P277, while those bound for Subic will pay P363. The fee will be collected in Mabalacat.
Advance payments were designed to shorten the queues of vehicles in the toll plazas in Tarlac and Subic.
For those entering SCTEx plazas other than Mabalacat and bound for either Tarlac or Subic, the toll based on their entry points will also be collected in advance. They must surrender their stubs upon exit as proof of payment.
For those going back to Metro Manila on April 4 and 5, the gates at Dau southbound barrier will be open from noon of Black Saturday to 11 p.m. of Easter Sunday. Cash-paying motorists bound for Metro Manila will no longer stop here for their transit ticket.
Easytrip subscribers should pass the exit lanes at Dau northbound barrier. Temporary booths would be set up in Bocaue, Bulacan province, to speed up payment by Metro Manila-bound motorists.
Cards in gas stations
TMC is extending the work hours of its traffic personnel and has deployed more patrol vehicles and enforcers up to April 6. Roadworks in these areas have been stopped since Thursday.
Express exit cards, which carry discounted toll, will be sold from 7 a.m. of April 1 until 7 p.m. of April 2 in the following gasoline stations on NLEx: Petron Marilao and Shell Balagtas in Bulacan; and Total San Simon, Petron Lakeshore and Dau toll plaza in Pampanga.
The exit cards are available to Metro Manila-bound motorists on April 4 and 5 in the following stations: Shell Mexico, Caltex Mega Station San Fernando, Shell of Asia Sta. Rita and Petron Balagtas.
Traffic along the MNR from Meycauayan City in Bulacan up to San Manuel town in Tarlac experienced buildup near public markets on Monday, said Loreta Malaluan, assistant director of the Department of Public Works and Highways in Central Luzon.
Along the Jose Abad Santos Avenue (formerly the Gapan-San Fernando-Olongapo Road), traffic slowed down in areas where the DPWH is building two bridges in Barangay (village) Layac in Dinalupihan town in Bataan province. Traffic also slowed down in Cabiao town in Nueva Ecija province.
TMC and Manila North Tollways Corp. are working to integrate the operations of NLEx and SCTEx under terms approved by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, and the Toll Regulatory Board.
TPLEx has helped cut travel time to Baguio to an under five-hour drive, and has not been affected by gridlock at this time. TPLEx, which is linked to SCTEx, begins in Tarlac City and ends in Urdaneta.
Ambulant tellers will be deployed in toll plazas for faster collection of fees, said Tony Reyes, TPLEx marketing head.
Police are expecting heavy traffic beginning tonight, said Supt. Jeff Fanged, Urdaneta City police chief.
Policemen had been posted at the TPLEx exit to direct southbound vehicles to the expressway, he said.
Senior Insp. Ryan Manongdo, Pozorrubio town police chief, said he expected a buildup of moderate to heavy traffic on the MNR traversing two villages of his town because of road repairs. Reports from Tonette Orejas and Carmela Reyes-Estrope, Inquirer Central Luzon; Gabriel Cardinoza, Inquirer Northern Luzon; and Maricar Cinco, Inquirer Southern Luzon
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