The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), in partnership with the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB), and NLEX Corporation, officially signed an agreement of building a new interchange in Sto. Tomas, Pampanga.
Present in the MOA signing ceremony were Sto. Tomas Mayor Johnny A. Sambo, 4th District of Pampanga Representative Cong. Anna York Bondoc – Sagum, Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation CEO and President Rogelio Singson, DPWH R3 Assistant Regional Director Melquiades Sto. Domingo, Toll Regulatory Board Executive Director Alvin A. Carullo, Vice Mayor Matias C. Pineda and NLEX Corporation Chief Finance Officer Maria Theresa O. Wells.
The Sto. Tomas Interchange is part of the Greater Pampanga Circumferential Road Masterplan and will serve as link to the future Lubao-Guagua-Minalin-Sto. Tomas (LGMST) Bypass Road project of the DPWH. This interchange will soon be connected to other big infrastructure projects in the town including a new hospital and a university, bringing more progress to the municipality.
“Mapalad ang Sto. Tomas dahil ang bubuksan nating interchange dito ay magsisilbing daan tungo sa progreso ng bayang ito. Kami po sa DPWH ay katuwang ninyo sa pagsasakatuparang ng mga proyektong naglalayong mapagaan at mapagandan ang buhay ng mga mamamayang Pilipino,” DWPH Region III Director Engr. Roseller A. Tolentino said.
While this is a DPWH project, its completion and subsequent operation and maintenance will be a collaborative effort of the DPWH, TRB and NLEX Corporation with the support of the Sto. Tomas LGU and the 4th District of Pampanga.
“With the opening of our NLEX [Sto. Tomas] Interchange, I see us being one of the most progressive areas. Hindi lang po municipality of Sto. Tomas, pero the whole of 4th district and southern Pampanga po ay mabubuksan po dito,” said Congresswoman Bondoc.
Adding that, “sobra po ang magiging impact sa amin sa pag dami ng businesses, pagtaas ng land values, new economic opportunities, more jobs, pati more investors.”
Mayor Sambo also expressed his excitement towards this project and said that this new interchange will serve as an instrument in achieving the municipality’s goal of bringing progress to the town. “Gaganda po ang ating ekonomiya, higit sa lahat, darami po ang trabaho sa ating bayan,” he said.
Sto. Tomas Interchange will also help decongest the Olongapo-Gapan Road by bringing NLEX closer to the towns in the west. This project is envisioned to improve the lives of the communities within the project vicinity as it serves as a solution to the increasing traffic demand in the region driven by agro-industrial growth.
Executive Director Carullo, on behalf of the TRB, also expressed support for the project and said, “as long as its technically, financially, and legally feasible, we will defend all projects like this that will spur economic development.”
On the other hand, MPTC President and CEO Singson, emphasized that MPTC’s goal is to address the needs of the communities being traversed by its expressways. This is aligned with MPTC’s vision to propel economic growth and national progress by responsibly connecting communities.
“Ang lawak pa ng Sto. Tomas, all it needs is a good access. So here it is, ito na po ang hinihintay ninyong Sto. Tomas Interchange, which will not only improve Sto. Tomas but Minalin, Mexico, and all the communities that will be affected by the Lubao-Guagua-Minalin-Sto. Tomas Bypass, and in the bigger context, ‘yon pong tinatawag nating Greater Pampanga Circumferential Road Master Plan,” said Singson.
The Sto. Tomas Interchange is just one of many infrastructure projects in Pampanga. In fact, the NLEX Candaba 3rd Viaduct Project is now 34% complete and is expected to be delivered by November this year, while the expansion of NLEX in San Fernando to Sta. Ines in Mabalacat, Pampanga is targeted to start in the second quarter of 2024.
NLEX Corporation is a subsidiary of the Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC), the toll road arm of the Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC).