NLEX: Candaba viaduct in full operation for Holy Week

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga — The North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) Corp. said the 6.8-kilometer Candaba viaduct will be fully open to traffic in time for Holy Week on April 3 to 9.

NLEX Corp. officials made the assurance to the House of Representatives during an inter-agency consultative meeting presided over by Deputy Speaker and Pampanga 3rd District Rep. Aurelio Gonzales Jr. at the House on Monday afternoon.

“We will finish retrofitting the southbound lane of the viaduct next month. All lanes of NLEX will be open for Holy Week,” NLEX Corp. vice president Jennifer Jane Go said during the meeting.

“That’s good news to my constituents and my kabalen in Pampanga, and to thousands of motorists who traditionally go to tourism and vacation sites in northern Luzon throughout the Lenten period, and to those from the north who will drive to Metro Manila and southern Luzon,” Gonzales said.

He said NLEX would be congested with vehicles due to the Holy Week exodus even with all lanes passable.

For months now, due to the repairs and retrofitting of the Candaba viaduct, one southbound lane is closed, while one lane on the northbound side serves as a counterflow lane for southbound vehicles.

NLEX Corp. officials led by senior vice president Romulo Quimbo said construction of the third Candaba viaduct would begin in May and would be completed by December next year. The third bridge would be built in between the two current long southbound and northbound spans.

He said NLEX Corp. has already awarded the contract for the additional bridge to international contractor Leighton Asia.

Gonzales, who is an engineer, said a new viaduct or a new highway “is really needed because the present infrastructure has deteriorated due to age, constant use and heavy load.”

He said the expressway was built during the first Marcos administration.