IT might take three years before the service levels at the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) reach their optimum, thanks to the P1.5-billion rehab and modernization program that its operator has programmed for the year, but motorists can already expect improvements come March, the company’s chief executive said on Monday.
Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. President and CEO Rodrigo E. Franco assured motorists that the longest thoroughfare in the Philippines will be improved as early as March, just in time to accommodate the expected spike in traffic during the Holy Week.
Down the line, the P1.5-billion program to improve the thoroughfare will result in making the expressway at par with its sibling, the 93-kilometer North Luzon Expressway (Nlex).
“While the rehabilitation and modernization of SCTEx will take three years to complete, motorists will already experience the improvements by Holy Week this year,” he said.
Manila North Tollways Corp. bagged the contract to manage, operate and maintain SCTEx late last year. Under the terms of this contract, the company will be responsible for the management, toll collection, traffic safety and security, toll road and facilities maintenance, including greening and landscaping, public relations and marketing of expressway until 2043.
“Aside from integrating the two tollways seamlessly, we have lined up a lot of enhancement works for SCTEx,” Franco said. “These include pavement works, construction of new facilities and the improvement of the toll collection and communications systems.”
He said closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras and emergency call boxes are currently being installed along the expressway to ensure the security of motorists. The roadside emergency call boxes will enable distressed motorists to directly and quickly connect to the SCTEx traffic control room.
The CCTV cameras will enable real-time monitoring of the entire stretch of the expressway which, in turn, will allow allow Manila North Tollways Corp. teams to respond faster to motorists who may need assistance.
Additional lights and reflectorized strips are also being mounted to guide motorists during the night.
To provide motorists with a more comfortable travel experience, two additional restrooms will be constructed at the SCTEx’s Dolores Exit and Luisita Interchange.
Variable message signs that provide motorists with useful and updated traffic information will be put up along the expressway, as well.
Nlex’s modern toll collection system, which makes use of dedicated short-range communication tags, and contactless and magnetic cards, will be made available to SCTEx once the integration of the two expressways is completed.
By Holy Week this year, some physical barriers currently standing between the two tollways will be removed. Motorists will no longer need to stop at Dau and Mabalacat as these will be converted into pass-through lanes.
“With all the planned improvements for SCTEX, motorists will soon experience a seamless Nlex-SCTEX connection,” Franco said.
Traversing the provinces of Bataan, Pampanga and Tarlac, the 94-kilometer SCTEX is linked to the northern tip of Nlex at Sta. Ines, Mabalacat, Pampanga.