BOCAUE, Bulacan — Motorists and commuters can now travel with convenience to the eastern portion of this province with the opening of the PHP260.818-million Ciudad de Victoria Interchange Overpass and Bypass Road here on Tuesday.
The new interchange aims to improve mobility and accessibility within the Bulacan road network, particularly in the towns of Bocaue, Sta. Maria, Pandi, Norzagaray, Angat, and other nearby towns.
Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar led the ceremonial drive-thru of the project, one of the priorities of the Duterte administration which was constructed by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Regional Office in Region 3.
Villar said the opening of the four-lane road and bridge project will reduce travel time from the usual 50 minutes to 15 minutes by avoiding the traffic-congested Governor F. Halili Road via Ciudad de Victoria.
“The interchange overpass and bypass road is just one of our priority projects in Bulacan to help ease mounting traffic along Governor F. Halili Road in Bocaue-Sta. Maria and address the usual heavy traffic situation at the Bocaue Interchange,” he said.
He said traveling to North and Central Luzon, along the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) and within the province of Bulacan, has become a lot better and easier with the opening of the interchange.
“We also expect this new road to further accelerate trade and commerce within the province and nearby areas,” he added.
He thanked the DPWH-Central Luzon for fast-tracking the completion of the project which is just in time for the opening ceremonies of the 30th Southeast (SEA) Games at the Philippine Arena, a 55,000-seater indoor stadium located within the Ciudad de Victoria.
The project started on January 29, 2019, and completed on November 24 this year.
Villar said a high volume of vehicles and traffic jams during the SEA Games opening ceremonies are expected and that the bypass road will provide ease of transport to delegates from 11 participating countries during the biennial sport meet.
“We are excited about this project that will further improve the roads leading to the Philippine Arena, especially now that we are hosting the 30th SEA Games wherein some sports events are scheduled to be held in several venues in the region,” he said.
DPWH Regional Director Roseller Tolentino likewise said with the opening of the Ciudad de Victoria Interchange Overpass and Bypass Road, motorists are now provided with an alternate road to avoid heavily congested routes leading to and coming from the biennial meet opening rites venue.
For his part, NLEX Corp. president and general manager J. Luigi L. Bautista said: “NLEX is keen on supporting the government’s infrastructure plan as it also provides travel convenience for motorists using the expressway system and opens up opportunities for local communities.”
Governor Daniel Fernando, on the other hand, said the project will not only generate job opportunities for Bulakenyos but also boost the economy of the province, especially with the new international airport that is about to be constructed in the town of Bulakan.
“This is really indeed a huge blessing for our province, including other developments like the New Manila International Airport that soon to be constructed next year,” Fernando said.
Senator Joel Villanueva and his sister Mayor Eleanor “Joni” Villanueva-Tugna are also thankful for the construction of the project as they expressed their full support to the “Build, Build, Build” program of the Duterte administration.
Meanwhile, the section from Philippine Arena to the southbound side of NLEX will open on November 29 while the southbound section (from north of NLEX) going to the Philippine Arena will open on November 30 only for the SEA Games opening ceremonies to give way to the remaining works of the interchange project.
The project features an 80-lineal meter bridge which connects the Bocaue Municipal Hall, NLEX, Ciudad de Victoria, and Bocaue-Sta. Maria Bypass Road. It also has a northbound entry and exit toll plaza and soon, a southbound toll plaza for better accessibility.
The construction of the 224-linear meter, four-lane road, the 80.80-linear meter, four-lane overpass bridge crossing NLEX, and the interchange ramp with a net length of 757.33- linear meter and 42.80- linear meter concrete bridge, are for vehicles exiting and entering the NLEX.
Likewise, a 1.91-kilometre road from MacArthur Highway to Bocaue Municipal will be improved and a 1.3-kilometre road from the Philippine Arena to the existing Patubig Road in Marilao, this province will be constructed. (PNA)
By Manny Balbin and Marna Dagumboy Del Rosario