Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Subic expressways ready for 'Undas'

THE Tollways Management Corporation (TMC) has guaranteed safety travel to thousands of vacationers and travelers using North Luzon and Subic-Clark-Tarlac expressways this coming All Saints' and All Souls' days.

TMC said it will provide safety and emergency roadside assistance to motorists during the holidays.

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It said about 10 percent increase in normal traffic volume at NLEX - from 130,000 vehicles a day to 140,000; while the fully operational SCTEX expects an increase to approximately 10,000 vehicles per day.

TMC said it is taking additional measures to ensure that travel within the two expressways is "on-time, safe, secure, and comfortable."

Traffic management teams are deployed to some of the interchanges such as Valenzuela, Meycauyan, Sta. Rita and Bocaue for NLEX; and Tipo, Dinalupihan and Clark Logistics/NLEX Spur Toll Plazas for SCTEX.

There are also SCTEX patrollers and traffic aides in the Concepcion, San Miguel and Tarlac/La Paz interchanges.

TMC said there will be a composite security team deployed to SCTEX from the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, and the Clark Development Corporation to ensure the safety of motorists.

Eight relay stations for the security patrol teams are set up to do their rounds and respond to any emergencies along the expressway within 20 minutes.

Towing services will be provided by the Automobile Association of the Philippines (AAP) and emergency medical services from Aeromed Ambulance Transport Inc. are on standby 24/7 at the toll plazas in Balintawak, Sta. Rita and San Fernando for NLEX; and Dinapulihan, Dolores and Clark Logistics/NLEX Spur Toll Plazas for SCTEX.

Variable message signs or electronic message box text displays can be found at entry points, which give real time updates on traffic conditions at NLEX.

TMC said new safety features have been put in place by NLEX concessionaire, the Manila North Tollways Corporation (MNTC), such as additional guard rails on shoulders, glow-in-the-dark lane markings and solid wall fencing to replace stolen cyclone wire fences. The solid wall fence also keeps pedestrians and wayward animals from crossing NLEX.

The firm said there are now 48 CCTV cameras strategically positioned along NLEX, 27 digital outdoor signs that flash safety reminders and timely traffic advice, three speed radar guns used to detect vehicles going over the speed limit of 100 kph (kilometers per hour), 14 lighting arrestors to protect the tollway's communication system, six sets of impact attenuators to protect tollway crew and equipment in toll plazas from errant vehicles, and 35 CCTV cameras at the Balintawak and Bocaue toll plazas to monitor goings on inside the toll booths.

The CCTV cameras enable the tollway's traffic management system to keep track of traffic and other developments inside NLEX and to enable NLEX traffic teams to immediately respond to motorists in need.

There are two additional lighting facilities installed in a critical section of the Candaba Viaduct to help reduce accidents in the area.

As to lighting in tollways, international standards do not require lighting normally installed in urban roads, except in approaches to interchanges and plazas.

MNTC has made sure that the NLEX design is consistent with international standards.

At SCTEX, safety features include ample reflectorized traffic cones, road signs, plastic jersey barriers, and lane closure signs. Through these portable equipment and reflectorized road signs, motorists will be able to avoid hazards, especially at night, and protection from ongoing retrieval operations in times of incidents in the expressway.

SCTEX was also designed and built to conform to international standards in lighting for tollways. Lampposts are placed 500 to 800 meters before and after each interchange to illuminate entrance ramps, exit ramps and all major bridges (400 meters or longer).

When caught in an emergency situation, the public is advised to call: Emergency Hotline at (02) 580-8911; NLEX Hotline at (02) 35000; and SCTEX Hotlines at (02) 362-9997, (02) 362-2246, (045) 865-2030, and (0920) 9672839. SunStar

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