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Opening of new SFEX lanes to ease holiday traffic in Subic

Public Works Sec. Mark Villar, flanked by SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma and NLEX Corp. president and general manager J. Luigi Bautista, walks along the new lanes of the Subic Freeport Expressway past the new tunnel during the soft opening of the expanded expressway on Monday.

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — The temporary opening of the new lanes at the Subic Freeport Expressway (SFEX) will greatly ease heavier-than-normal movement of people and goods at the Subic Bay Freeport before and after the New Year festivities.
Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said the Subic agency is expecting more people to visit or pass through Subic for the holidays, at the same time that business locators transport more products in and out of the Freeport.
“The opening of the new lanes, albeit temporarily, is very timely,” Eisma said on Monday after Public Works Secretary Mark Villar led the ceremonial opening of the new SFEX lanes.
“It will ease the movement of people and goods in the Subic Bay Freeport and further develop Subic’s business and tourism prospects,” she added.
Eisma also said the SBMA had opened the Subic Freeport to tourists during the holidays subject to strict health safety protocols, and that tourist volume had increased dramatically to almost the current 50 percent full capacity.
She added that the Subic agency had allowed children to come into the Freeport as long as they stay in open areas or alfresco restaurants and not in malls and other closed spaces.
“There are lots of people coming in and Subic is very much excited, in a way,” Eisma said.
Villar, along with Eisma and NLEX Corp. president and general manager J. Luigi Bautista, graced the ceremonial drive-through at the new 8.2-kilometer expressway lanes to mark the temporary opening on Monday. The new lanes will be open temporarily until January 15, after which more construction activities will resume.
During the expressway drive-through, Villar expressed satisfaction at the expansion project and said the new Subic Freeport Expressway (SFEX) is already 92 percent complete, with the remaining portion being the construction of the Jadjad Bridge.
Villar said the P1.6-billion SFEX Capacity Expansion Project is expected to be fully completed in the first quarter of next year.
It entails the conversion of the Subic Freeport Expressway into a 2×2 divided expressway, with additional two lanes, two new bridges and a tunnel, as well as the installation of expressway-standard LED lights, raising the elevation of Maritan Highway-Rizal Highway-Tipo Road junction, and the enhancement of drainage systems for better flood management in the area.
Villar also noted that the project will enhance accessibility and promote travel efficiency along this key road that connects Bataan and Zambales, as well as boost Subic’s competitiveness as an ideal shipping gateway for Central and North Luzon.
The SFEX, which is operated by NLEX Corp., a toll road subsidiary of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC), connects the Subic Bay Freeport to the 94-kilometer Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, which further links with the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway.

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