NLEX Harbor Link opens, cuts travel time

MANILA, Philippines — From more than an hour, travel time from Quezon City to Port Area in Manila has been cut to only 20 minutes after the opening yesterday of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) Harbor Link.

Public Works Secretary Mark Villar said motorists and Manila port freight carriers would enjoy the improved driving experience with the opening of the NLEX Harbor Link elevated section with interchanges at the C3 Road/5th Avenue in Caloocan and Navotas.

Villar, Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) president and CEO Rodrigo Franco and NLEX Corp. president J. Luigi Bautista led the opening of the new 2.6-kilometer elevated C3 to Road 10 section that expands the NLEX network to Camanava (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela) and Mel Lopez Boulevard (formerly Road 10) in Manila.

The event was also attended by Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, and Bases and Conversion Development Authority president Vince Dizon.

Malabon Mayor Antolin Oreta III yesterday lauded the construction of an exit ramp to the city, which could spur development in Northern Metro Manila.

Talks are also underway between the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Metro Pacific group to further extend the harbor link Segment 10 to Anda Circle in Port Area, Manila.

Villar said the NLEX harbor link section features the new Caloocan interchange with on and off ramps along Grace Park, the Malabon Exit with off ramp on Dagat-Dagatan Avenue and the Navotas Interchange with on and off ramps on North Bay Boulevard South.

It lengthens the existing Harbor Link – the 2.42-kilometer Segment 9 between the NLEX Interchange to Barangay Karuhatan, Valenzuela City and the 5.65-kilometer Segment 10 between Bgy. Karuhatan to the new Caloocan Interchange in Grace Park C3/5th Avenue.  

“The expanded NLEX Harbor Link will certainly boost the government’s traffic decongestion efforts in Metro Manila and other major thoroughfares. This will be an alternative route between Quezon City and Manila. From the Mindanao Toll Plaza, motorists may now reach Port Area in Manila in about 15 to 20 minutes,” Villar said.

The elevated expressway, which is envisioned to improve the road sector’s network and eventually upgrade Luzon’s supply chain, is seen to benefit around 30,000 vehicles per day. 

The new section will be an alternative route for motorists, especially truckers, currently affected by traffic choke points along Quezon Avenue, EDSA and A. Bonifacio Road in Manila. 

Cargo trucks will enjoy a 24-hour access since the harbor link will not be covered by the truck ban all the way to NLEX. 

“We worked overtime to deliver this piece of infrastructure that our metropolis needs not only to improve driving experience but also to hasten economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Franco noted.

“The impact of the ECQ has been challenging but our commitment never wavered, and our focus remained clear, and that is by resuming our infrastructure projects, we generate jobs and help quickly restart business activities,” Franco added.

Motorists using the entire Harbor Link are also assured of the same safety features and high-quality pavement that they have been used to along NLEX.

Before the year ends, DPWH and NLEX are also targeting completion of the new exit ramp towards the Navotas Fish Port complex. Marc Jayson Cayabyab, Richmond Mercurio