House Speaker Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, 4th from right joined by Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. President and CEO Rogelio Singson, North Luzon Expressway Corp. President and Gen. Manager J. Luigi Bautista and Toll Regulatory Board Executive Director Atty. Alvin Carullo (2nd and 1st from right) with Pampanga Gov. Dennis Pineda and DPWH Reg. 3 Director Roseller Tolentino (2nd and 1st from left) during the ground-breaking of the Candaba 3rd Viaduct in Pulilan town in Bulacan on Wednesday. Photo by Anton Luis Catindig

PULILAN, Bulacan—House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez on Wednesday led other officials in the ground-breaking of the P7.89-billion worth North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) Candaba 3rd Viaduct in this town. 

The 5 km viaduct which will be built in the middle of the two existing north and south bound lanes of the Candaba viaduct spans from Pulilan, Bulacan to Apalit Pampanga.

J. Luigi Bautista, NLEX Corporation president said the construction of the project starts on Wednesday and is targeted to be completed in November 2024.

Martin hails the Candaba 3rd viaduct project as something to celebrate because it serves as one of the leading infrastructure developments of our nation under the visionary leadership of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. 

The two lanes of Candaba viaduct in Pulilan town. It is in the open middle area where the 3rd viaduct will be constructed. Photo by Anton Luis Catindig 

The project, he said, being a testament of the country’s continued progress is a remarkable achievement for sustainable development because it improved movement of the people, their services and goods between Metro Manila and the whole of Central and Northern Luzon. 

“Through our partners in the private sectors, it has once again proved what unity and partnership with them can achieve for our country. This is a collective commitment to meet the demand of our people for economic progress and development,” the representative from Leyte said.

The Leyte representative also expressed close family association and relation with Bulacan as he said his grandmother, Dona Remedios Trinidad, (the mother of former First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos and his father and he and President Marcos grandmother), hailed from Baliwag town. The Dona Remedios Trinidad (DRT) town in Bulacan was named after their grandmother. 

The Speaker also spoke about his familiarization with Candaba viaduct through television since he was young, but really was not knowledgeable of the structure. 

According to Bautista, the Candaba viaducts connect Metro Manila and Central Luzon for over 50 years now. The northbound lanes were built between 1974-1977 and the southbound lanes between 1977-1985. 

Despite its age, Bautista said, the Candaba viaducts have withstood strong typhoons, floods and earthquakes and are a major link to Northern and Central Luzon. 

This equipment signifies the start of the construction of the Candaba 3rd viaduct. Photo by Anton Luis Catindig

The Candaba 3rd viaduct he added is a bridge expansion facility through additional lanes which would increase the current 40-60 kilometre per hour (kph) speed travel to 60-80 kph.

Bautista assured motorists that traffic will not be affected by the construction of the project which he said would end and was targeted to be completed by November 2024. 

The viaduct will also use solar panels as part of the energy sustainability program of the NLEX Corp. 

Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) president and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Rogelio Singson said the project will provide better mobility and movement, convenience and productivity within the areas, acceleration of trade and commerce and will continue to deliver vital infrastructures in Central Luzon. 

Singson also defended the recent P11. 00 toll rate increase in NLEX and Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) as already a long overdue increase since 2012. “It has been 11 years since NLEX increased our toll rates, that was 11 years ago and it appears that the toll hike is just a P1.00 per year in eleven years,” he said.

Gov. Dennis Pineda and Vice Governor Alexis Castro also graced the event together with other local officials and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Regional Director Roseller Tolentino.