With the mad rush to clear the port area of containers and the insane traffic jam it is expected to cause for the next two weeks, starting today the MMDA has been granted power to manage several road in Metro Manila including the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX).

The MMDA, after a meeting with local officials yesterday, has formed ‘Task Force Pantalan’ to be able to have hands-on control over the traffic situation on roads to and from the port area until September 21.

Gen. Allen Bartolo of the Highway Patrol Group will head the task force with MMDA traffic head Crisanto Saruca serving as deputy and local government representatives acting as members.

NLEX, starting today, will temporarily close the Balintawak toll plaza to speed up the flow of private vehicles and will now allow Class A and D vehicles, including shuttle buses to counterflow.  The Del Pan Bridge in Tondo, Manila will also implement a counter flow system.  R-10 will open up two lanes for trucks through the cities of Navotas, Caloocan and Manila.

To completely empty out the Manila port area, overstaying containers will be transferred to Subic Port and any container left behind after October 1 will be fined P5,000 for every day it remains in the port.