By Joe Zaldarriaga

New Candaba viaduct to help spur economic development in Luzon

While traveling is expected to be much faster and safer thanks to the construction of the third Candaba viaduct, and once completed, it is also likely to help further the overall socioeconomic development of Central and Northern Luzon.

The third viaduct will be constructed by NLEX Corporation, a subsidiary of Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC), the tollways unit of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC).

The 5-kilometer Candaba viaduct connects Bulacan and Pampanga along the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX). It has been an important bridge for motorists traveling from Metro Manila to Central and Northern Luzon for over 50 years. The viaduct has withstood natural disasters such as typhoons and earthquakes.

The project was recently inaugurated through a groundbreaking ceremony led by House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Senior Deputy Speaker Aurelio Gonzales, Toll Regulatory Board Executive Director Alvin Carullo, Pampanga Gov. Dennis Pineda, Department of Public Works and Highways Region 3 Director Roseller Tolentino, MPTC President Rogelio L. Singson, and NLEX President and General Manager J. Luigi L. Bautista.

Targeted to be completed by November 2024, the PHP7.89-billion third Candaba viaduct requires the construction of a new bridge between the two existing viaducts. Once completed, the road capacity of the new viaduct will increase from three lanes without shoulders to three lanes with inner and outer shoulders in each direction. These lanes and shoulders will be wide, boosting the safety and convenience of those traversing the viaduct.

House Speaker Martin Romualdez also emphasized the importance of the new bridge, as it is expected to decongest traffic and reduce travel time for motorists who pass through the important Candaba viaduct every day.

"This project will not only enhance the efficiency of our transportation network but also contribute to the overall socio-economic development of the region. It will create jobs, attract investments, and stimulate economic growth," said Romualdez.

According to former Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio L. Singson, who is now MPTC President and CEO, "This project will not only increase the capacity of the 5-km Candaba Viaduct but will ultimately improve safety and convenience of the motorists and will aid in the acceleration and growth of trade and commerce in Central Luzon."

The third Candaba Viaduct will be built using green and sustainable engineering practices and comply with the country's latest bridge design requirements. It will have piers every 20 meters, with each pier supported by two columns and two bored piles, strengthening the structure amidst the swampy condition of the natural ground underneath the viaduct.

NLEX President and General Manager J. Luigi L. Bautista also assured that the construction of the new bridge would not affect the operation and traffic flow of the two existing viaducts. Based on the studies, constructing the third viaduct was necessary because the existing structures are aging and operating at a lower capacity. Competent engineers and management teams will manage the construction site to ensure efficiency and safety.

"This new mobility project will offer easy journeys and make travel safer for the public traveling between Metro Manila and Central and North Luzon as there will be a new structure to augment the existing ones and will safely allow the speed limit to increase to 60 to 80 kilometers per hour from the current 40 to 60 kilometers per hour," said Bautista adding that upon completion, Class 3 vehicles or large trucks will be directed to the new bridge so that the old structures will be relieved of heavy loads.

Since 2005, the said tollway company has been upgrading the viaduct. Among the upgrades made are pavement resurfacing, bridge link slab, girder and deck replacement, girder, and column strengthening, and construction of lay-bys or emergency stops in the northbound and southbound directions of the bridge.

In 2020, stricter anti-overloading policies, such as the 33-ton gross vehicle weight limit for the southbound viaduct, have also begun to be implemented to ensure the safety and stability of the bridge.

With projects like the third Candaba viaduct underway, motorists can expect even more improvements in the quality of the road infrastructure and service along the NLEX. These projects aim to ensure the utmost comfort and safety of all motorists traveling in central and northern Luzon through NLEX.

With the BBM administration's vision of bringing the country to the golden age of infrastructure, this project will certainly add to the many other programs in the pipeline that, in the end, will benefit millions of Filipinos.


Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in the foregoing article are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the Philippine News Agency (PNA) or any other office under the Presidential Communications Office.


About the Columnist

Image of Joe Zaldarriaga

Mr. Joe Zaldarriaga, fondly called "Manong Joe", is a distinguished figure in the country’s corporate communications landscape. Holding the position of Vice President and Head of Corporate Communications at Manila Electric Company (Meralco), he has orchestrated unparalleled success for the utility company, winning accolades for their brand of service communications.

Under his guidance, Meralco achieved unprecedented milestones, clinching a historic 3-peat Company of the Year title at the IABC Philippine Quill Awards, scoring the only PR Team of the Year trophy bestowed at the Anvil Awards, and securing numerous honors at international and local communication awards.

Manong Joe's leadership also extends as a respected member of the Board of Trustees for the Public Relations Society of the Philippines (PRSP), concurrent with his role as Chairman of the International Association of Business Communicators Philippines (IABC Philippines) where he also served as its President.

Manong Joe is a distinguished awardee of the medallion of honor and scroll of commendation from the University of Manila, owing to his years in public service as a communications professional. He shares his insights through columns in renowned publications, including The Philippine Star’s The Z Factor, and Philippine News Agency's ESPRESSO MORNINGS.