MANILA – House Deputy Speaker and Pampanga 3rd District Rep. Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales Jr. on Friday hailed the plans of NLEX Corporation, the operator of the North Luzon Expressway, to build a diamond-type interchange in the Mexico-San Fernando City section of the highway in his province.
“This is a welcome development. The envisioned complete interchange would decongest vehicular traffic on both the eastern and western parts of the highway, especially the San Fernando City side, including the old MacArthur Highway,” Gonzales said in a statement.
“It will hasten access to the expressway by thousands of motorists and cargo truck drivers coming from San Fernando, Angeles and Bacolor who currently are using the Mexico entry/exit,” he said. “They would not have to cross the highway through a bridge to access the present toll plaza on the eastern side if a diamond interchange that includes a separate toll station on the San Fernando side will be built.”
According to Gonzales, NLEX Corp. announced the plans during an inter-agency consultative meeting held Monday that he presided over.
Company officials said the plan is to expand the existing Mexico exit/entry toll plaza, which is located on the eastern part of the expressway, into a “full diamond interchange” that would have a separate toll station on the San Fernando City, or western side.
They said they would also interconnect the interchange to the Aquino byway extension, which is a road convergence project of Gonzales, that would link Mexico and San Fernando.
NLEX Corp also announced that they would start road widening next year for two additional lanes on both the northbound and southbound sections of the expressway, from San Fernando City to Mabalacat town.
The company said the widening would affect several local bridges crossing the highway, including five in the Mexico-San Fernando area.
To expedite the expansion of the expressway, Gonzales offered to relocate and improve the five bridges in his district, using his priority development assistance fund allocation.
However, he said there are three bridges that are part of NLEX which are no longer passable due to siltation caused by flooding and the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991.
“These will have to be rehabilitated by NLEX Corp. so they would become passable again to motorists and residents of Mexico and San Fernando,” Gonzales said. (PNA)