Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Friday, August 15, 2008

Emergency response teams to come to the aid of SCTEx motorists in trouble


SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—With the opening today of the Clark-Tarlac segment of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx), the operator of the 93.77-kilometer tollway has assured motorists that they can expect “reliable and expert road assistance,” in addition to faster and efficient travel, along the four-lane superhighway.

In a statement sent to the Business Mirror, the Tollways Management Corp. (TMC) said it has deployed a full complement of emergency response teams (ERTs) to assist travelers along the way.

Charly Española, TMC division head for the SCTEx, said the ERTs include patrols and traffic-management teams, emergency medical services and towing crews, as well as roadside repair technicians.

He added that the TMC, which is primarily engaged in the operation and maintenance of toll roads, interchanges and related facilities, has taken these measures “to ensure that travel within the SCTEx is on-time, safe, secure and comfortable.”

The state-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) has scheduled the opening today of the remaining Clark-Tarlac segment, which forms the second package of the SCTEx, now the longest world-class expressway in the country.

The first package, which is a 50.5-km road segment connecting the Subic and Clark free ports, opened for commercial operation on April 28.

The full operation of the expressway is expected to play a major role in the economic growth of the Central Luzon trade corridor, mainly by reducing travel time between economic zones in Subic, Clark and Tarlac, and facilitating the movement of goods, services and people.

The SCTEx has cut travel time from Subic to Clark to just 40 minutes, and from Clark to Tarlac to just 25 minutes. Similarly, the new toll road, along with the connecting North Luzon Expressway (Nlex), has now reduced travel from Subic to Manila to just about 90 minutes instead of more than two hours.

Española said the TMC, which also operates and maintains the 84-km Nlex and the 8-km expressway leading to the Subic Bay Freeport, had positioned its ERTs at toll plazas and strategic stations along the SCTEx.

Traffic-management teams, which are composed of “fixed patrollers” and traffic aides, are deployed at toll plazas in Tipo (Bataan), the Clark Logistics/Nlex spur road and Tarlac, as well as eight overpasses all over Package 2.

Emergency medical-service teams, with ambulances and paramedics from the Aeromed Ambulance Transport Inc., are located at the Dinalupihan (Bataan), Dolores (Pampanga), Clark Logistics/Nlex Spur and Tarlac toll plazas.

Patrol assistance, meanwhile, are provided by patrol vehicles, lane management teams, antispeeding teams and antioverweigth vehicle program patrol teams manning the four fixed weighing stations at the toll plazas in Dinalupihan, Clark North B, and San Miguel and La Paz in Tarlac.

Then there are also tow trucks, flatbeds and lifters provided by the Automobile Association of the Philippines to help move stalled vehicles, said Española.

TMC, which is a part of the Lopez Group of Companies and an affiliate of Egis Road Operation S.A., reportedly the world’s largest toll road operator, has also urged motorists to observe road safety and proper vehicle maintenance.

Benigno Valles, TMCs community relations manager, told the Business Mirror that 107 out of the 190 accidents at Nlex last month, or 56.32 percent, were due to driver error.

The other top causes are blown tire, 7.89 percent; insufficient braking distance, 6.84 percent; and brake malfunction, also 6.84 percent.

At the SCTEx, meanwhile, Valles said that the May-June accident reports indicated mechanical or engine problem as the leading cause of accidents, with 62 percent of the total cases. Tire problems came next at 24 percent.

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