Motorists can continue using the new and expanded section of the 8.2-kilometer Subic Freeport Expressway (SFEX) daily up to next month, as NLEX Corp. decided to keep the new road open partially until its full completion.
“This is to provide continued convenience to motorists already using the new expressway, and for those who will be traveling to and from the Subic area,” NLEX said.
SFEX will stay open to motorists from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. everyday, until the project is finished fully next month.
The new SFEX carriageway was initially eyed to be available only for the holidays up to January 15, 2021 to give way to the construction of the remaining works.
But NLEX said assessments and recent developments show that the new road can stay open during the said hours while there are still works being done in some areas, including the portion of Jadjad Bridge.
“We are keeping the new SFEX road partially open to the motoring public up to its target completion in February. With this, we can continue providing faster and safer access to and from Subic especially for businesses and logistics companies operating in the area as well for tourists,” Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar said.
Luigi Bautista, president of NLEX, assured that necessary safety requirements have been met in keeping the SFEX open while construction works are ongoing.
Bautista said the move to keep the road open “will further help improve mobility as businesses in the Subic Bay Freeport are coming back on track from adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
NLEX said more than 95,000 motorists have been served by the new road from December 28, 2020, when it was opened temporarily, up to January 11, 2021.
The SFEX Capacity Expansion, once completed, is expected to spur economic growth not just in Subic, but also in the entire region. It is seen to complement Subic’s infrastructure program and help sustain Subic’s position as a globally competitive trade and tourism center.
“The move to continuously open the new lanes is very timely as it will ease the movement of people and goods in the Freeport and further develop Subic’s business and tourism prospects,” Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) chairman and administrator Wilma Eisma said.
The P1.6-billion SFEX Capacity Expansion project will increase the road capacity of SFEX from one lane in each direction to two lanes in each direction with the construction of two additional lanes, bridges, and a new tunnel.
It intends to improve traffic safety, provide additional road capacity, and reduce travel time to and from Subic Bay Freeport.
As part of the project, expressway-standard LED lights are also being installed, while the elevation of Maritan Highway-Rizal Highway-Tipo Road junction was raised and the drainage system was enhanced to allow motorists to experience comfortable and easy journeys all year round.