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P1.6B expanded Subic expressway opens

The newly completed expanded section of the 8.2-kilometer Subic Freeport Expressway (SFEX) was formally opened on February 19
• The P1.6-billion SFEX expansion project increased road capacity from one lane in each direction to two in each direction
• Use of the expanded expressway is free at the moment pending assessment of proposed toll rates

The newly completed expanded section of the 8.2-kilometer (km) Subic Freeport Expressway (SFEX) has been formally opened on February 19 and is currently free of charge to motorists.

The P1.6-billion SFEX expansion project has increased road capacity from one lane in each direction to two lanes in each direction with the construction of two additional lanes, bridges, and a new tunnel.

An NLEX Corp bus breaks the ceremonial ribbon during the formal opening of the newly completed 8.2-km Subic Freeport Expressway on Feb. 19. Photo from the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.

This will improve traffic safety, provide additional road capacity, and reduce travel time to and from Subic Bay Freeport, according to concessionaire NLEX Corp.

“We continued the construction of the new expressway despite the challenges posed by the pandemic and the stringent health protocols. The construction project also provided jobs and supported the livelihood of our people. It was also our way of helping our countrymen manage the economic impact of the health crisis,” NLEX Corp. president and general manager J. Luigi Bautista said in a statement.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority administrator Wilma Eisma said the road expansion would accelerate economic growth in the Subic Bay Freeport and surrounding communities.

Expressway-standard LED lights were also installed, the elevation of Maritan Highway-Rizal Highway-Tipo Road junction raised, and the drainage system enhanced, all to allow comfortable and easy journeys all year round.

Bautista earlier said the project “will further help improve mobility as businesses in the Subic Bay Freeport are coming back on track from adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, during the opening ceremony, said the expanded expressway will be free of charge for now since the Toll Regulatory Board is still assessing the proposed toll rates submitted by NLEX Corp.

Prior to its February 19 formal opening, the new expressway had been partially opened last December through its completion this month even as works continued in some areas.

READ: Expanded SFEX section to stay partly open till Feb completion

The SFEX capacity expansion is seen to spur economic growth not just in Subic but in the entire region as well. It will complement Subic’s infrastructure program and help sustain Subic’s position as a globally competitive trade and tourism center.

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