NLEX engineers and crews use water pumping equipment to drain the flood waters in Tulaoc portions in San Simon, Pampanga. Photo from NLEX Facebook page

SAN SIMON, PAMPANGA— Back-flooding of flood waters coming from the mountainous and eastern areas of Bulacan including from Nueva Ecija and Pampanga caused by rains from typhoon Egay and the southwest monsoon slowed down the traffic and leaves hours of long queues along the section of North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) in this town since Tuesday.

Motorists braced for a 47-50 centimetres (cms) flood waters in the north and south bound lanes approach of the Tulaoc bridge in San Simon on Wednesday.   

Back-flooding is the downstream movement bound to Manila Bay of flood waters from the upper areas of Bulacan and from Nueva Ecija and Pampanga and will pass through the rivers and low lying areas of catch basin towns of Calumpit, Hagonoy and Paombong in Bulacan and Apalit and San Simon including  Macabebe and Masantol in Pampanga.

NLEX engineering teams have already implemented several corrective actions to help address the flooding.

Since Tuesday, NLEX operations team has continued to conduct regular inspection, and installed sandbags to reduce flooding in the area. Using water pumps, they have been siphoning off water from the carriageway to help drain floodwater faster.

“Our patrol teams are onsite to manage traffic situation to ensure efficient and safe traffic flow on the expressway,” NLEX said in an advisory it released to the media.

Rogelio Singson, president and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC) which owns and manages the NLEX Corp.  said that because of the incident,  they want to elevate the Tulaoc, San Simon segment area, but unfortunately, they cannot do so because of the need to first elevate the Tulaoc bridge.

“Hindi namin maitaas nang husto dahil sa Tulaoc bridge sa itaas. We need to coordinate para maitaas din ang tulay. Nakikipag-ugnayan din tayo sa Pampanga and San Simon LGU’s upang maisaayos ang waterways and drainage sa lugar,” Singson said in a statement yesterday.

“In the meantime, naglagay na tayo  ng sandbag and may water pump na rin para ilabas yung tubig. Our traffic and engineering teams are on site and are continuously monitoring the situation to ensure motorists safety,” Singson’s advisory also said.