HOLY WEEK TRIP TIPS | With traffic volume seen 15-20% higher, NLEX-SCTEx execs offer advice to public

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NLEX workers monitor traffic on the expressway in this file photo. HANDOUT PHOTO

MANILA – Management of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) is bracing for the bigger volume of vehicles during the Holy Week and has taken measures to mitigate congestion and avoid disruptions to travelers.

At the same time, officials have issued some tips for travelers.

In an interview with Radyo5 “Perfect Morning” host Maricel Halili on Sunday, Kiko Dagohoy, media relations specialist of the Manila North Tollways Corporation (MNTC), said they expect the volume of vehicles to increase by anywhere from 15 to 20 percent over the usual volume of 300,000 vehicles for both NLEX and SCTEx.

The peak volume is expected on Holy Wednesday, the last working day for the week. “From noontime of Wednesday till morning of Maundy Thursday, that’s where we usually see the biggest surge of motorists,” Dagohoy said, speaking partly in Filipino.

Dahil may trabaho pa nga bukas, yung talagang [Since there’s still work tomorrow, the real] peak would be on Wednesday,” Dagohoy added.

He said the MNTC has taken measures in recent months to prepare for the bigger volume of expressway users. Eight toll booths were added and more toll collection points set up.

They expect the biggest congestion on Wednesday near the toll plazas at Mindanao Avenue and Balintawak for northbound, and the Bocaue toll plaza for southbound on Easter.

Meanwhile, Dagohoy gave the following vital pieces of advice to the public:

1) Make sure your vehicle is roadworthy and you have everything covered. Make sure the driver’s health is in tiptop shape.

Follow the time-tested checklist for vehicles prior to long trips: BLOWBAG – for Brake, Light, Oil, Water, Battery, Air, and Gas.

2. If, despite taking precautions you still encounter problems, there’s a Motorist Assistance Program for the Holy Week. Look for the assistance centers in gasoline stations along the expressway. They provide mechanic services, first aid treatment, free towing for Class 1 vehicles to the nearest exits. These will be available from Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday.

There’s also a 24-hour hotline, that one can dial to reach the traffic control booth of NLEX, in case the vehicle breaks down in the middle of the expressway. The number is: 02 35000.

3) Plan your trip well, i.e., your itinerary, route and time.

Use the new mobile app that allows for real-time advisory on latest traffic status on NLEX, so you can pick the best time and best route for travel and avoid running smack into a traffic jam.

The mobile app goes by the acronym “N-LIGTAS,” meaning: North Luzon Integrated Guide and Traffic Advisory System.