NLEX’s P2.6-B projects seen spurring tourism in North, Central Luzon
Date Posted : March 31, 2017
A total of new 64 lane kilometers covering North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) Bulacan and Pampanga is expected to boost the tourism industry in the North and Central Luzon regions by providing easy and faster access to tourist destinations.
This is according to Ronaldo Tiotuico, Tourism Region 3 Director, who stressed that infrastructure developments are key to boosting the tourism sector. “With improved infrastructure, like that of the NLEX, travel to the tourism hubs will be faster and more convenient thus help us further transform the regions into favorite tourist destinations,” he said.
The Manila North Tollways Corporation (MNTC), builder and concessionaire of the NLEX, has invested P2.6 billion to expand the section between Sta. Rita, Guiguinto, Bulacan and San Fernando City to 3×3 lanes from the former 2×2 lanes in each direction.
The new projects also include the construction of emergency stops in both northbound and southbound directions of the 5-km long Candaba Viaduct and the upgrade of the shoulder lanes as third lanes to improve road capacity. Close to 800 expressway-standard LED lights were also installed from the Balagtas section to San Fernando City.
MNTC also built a new 2×2 northbound carriageway in the Mabalacat City portion of the NLEX including two bridges in Balem and Quitanguil. This new road helps promote road safety by segregating northbound and southbound motorists along separate carriageways.
The tollways firm is waiting for requisite government approvals, particularly by the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB), before the new projects are opened to the motoring public.
MNTC president Rodrigo E. Franco said, “The new expressway lanes, once opened to motorists, will enhance accessibility and convenience of the NLEX” adding that “all improvements being undertaken at the expressway always intend to support travel and tourism in Central and North Luzon provinces.”
DOT Region 3 data showed arrivals for 2016 totaled 4.1 million with Subic and Clark occupying the first and second position in terms of visitor arrivals, respectively.
In 2015, Region 3 ranked 4th in terms of arrivals among the 14 regional destinations in the country with Subic, Zambales as the topmost in ranking.
Tiotuico attributed the increase in tourist arrivals to the existing infrastructures within NLEX-SCTEX, presence of Clark International Airport and an upbeat private sector composed of airlines, tour operators, accommodation sector, as well as LGUs in tandem with the national government. He also cited the new expressway projects as these will drive tourism activities and help support Clark’s development.
The new NLEX projects will provide motorists with easier access to Clark and nearby provinces that are rich in cultural landmarks, natural wonders, and native delicacies,” said Tiotuico.