Motorists headed north during this year’s Holy Week are set to have a more seamless and faster journey with the integration of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX).

In a press conference held yesterday, Manila North Tollways Corporation announced that the PhP 650 million NLEX-SCTEX integration project will be implemented by March and expected to be completed by April.

As a review, MNTC and Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) signed the agreement for the integration of the NLEX and SCTEX last February 2015.

The said project will reduce the number of toll plaza stops to two instead of five from Balintawak to Subic and vice versa; and two instead of four from Balintawak to Tarlac and back.

With the reduced number of toll plazas, MNTC claims that travel time will be faster by 35 to 45 minutes from Balintawak to Subic. Furthermore, they said that the NLEX and SCTEX would not be congested due to fewer toll plazas. They also noted that the existing NLEX Dau and SCTEX Mabalacat toll plazas will be demolished by April and will only serve as a pass through.

Dau entry/exit ramps construction

MNTC is also constructing new toll plazas at existing entry/exit ramps at Dau and Sta. Ines.

In addition, there will be new toll plazas at Mabiga as well as a new Tipo toll barrier (adjacent to SCTEX toll plazas), along with the removal of the existing SFEX toll plaza. Lastly, the construction of the new SCTEX Tarlac toll plaza is underway.

Tarlac toll plaza construction

As of this writing, the project is 85-percent complete.

Under this integration project, the toll collection system of NLEX will be applied at SCTEX, featuring a common transit ticket system for both NLEX’s closed system and that of the SCTEX. A single official receipt will be issued to motorists, showing a breakdown of the NLEX and SCTEX portions of their trips.

The integration will also bring to SCTEX the modern features of NLEX’s toll collection system, which includes the use of dedicated short-range communication (DSRC) tags, contactless and magnetic cards and RFID sticker tags.

MNTC Assistant Vice President for Technology and Operations Glenn Campos said that there will be no changes in toll fees despite the NLEX-SCTEX integration. Campos added that existing NLEX and SCTEX toll rates will apply.