Heavy traffic hit the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) as motorists started heading out of Metro Manila for the Holy Week.
According to Raffy Tima’s report on “24 Oras” on Wednesday, long lines of vehicles were observed at the exit points of SLEX including the southbound lanes of Sucat to San Pedro and Sta. Rosa to Cabuyao route.
A four-kilometer traffic buildup was also monitored at the Sto. Tomas southbound exit as of 6 p.m.
The toll management reminded motorists to remain vigilant while driving and to continue adhering to safety protocols. They were likewise advised to refrain from cutting into the traffic and shouldering which may cause accidents and gridlock.
Meanwhile, a multiple-car collision was reported at the SLEX southbound lane at the portion of Sta. Rosa around 5 p.m. The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) responded to the incident.
“Lahat po 'yan talagang nagmamadali na makauwi at makaluwas. 'Yung iba pinipilit na makauwi at makasingit. Ingat na lang po para sa mga motorista natin. Sundin pa rin natin 'yung mga protocol sa kalsada,” said Vergel Reyes of BFP Sta. Rosa Emergency Medical Services.
(They were all scrambling to get to their provinces. We should be careful when driving and should remember road protocols.)
Meanwhile, the lack of RFIDs of around 100,000 vehicles using NLEX caused long lines at the cash lanes, Mark Salazar reported on “24 Oras."
To ease the congestion, the toll management opened four more counters on top of the initial three cash lanes at the Balintawak Toll Plaza. Collection points were also deployed in the area.
“Siguro dahil nga wala ng pasok ang mga government employees natin. Ibang kumpanya yata pinauwi na rin ng maaga ang mga empleyado kaya inaasahan natin mas maaga itong pagdagsa at tuloy-tuloy na ito hanggang mamayang gab,” said NLEX Traffic Operations Department head Robin Ignacio.
(It may be because of office hours in some government offices and companies. were cut short. We expected the Holy Week exodus to come early. We think the lines will last until tonight.)
Ignacio said around 30% or at least 100,000 motorists passing through the NLEX and Subic - Clark - Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) have yet to install RFIDs.
“Mas convenient ang may RFID. Mas mabilis ang pagdaloy sa plaza. Ang oras na ginugugol nila sa pagpila ganun din gastos nila sa gasolina habang nakapila. Hindi pa siguro nila narerealize yun,” he added.
(It would be more convenient to have an RFID because entering the toll plaza will be more seamless. Maybe some motorists have yet to realize the costs for the installation are the same as the gasoline they have to spend should they line.)
The traffic gridlock will continue towards NLEX Meycauayan Exit, San Fernando Exit, until SCTEx, the report said.
“Tatlo ang ating entry points from Metro Manila going North. Unang -una ang pinakamalaki na Balintawak Toll Plaza. Pangalawa, may mga pumapasok from Mindanao Toll plaza, then Karuhatan at dumagdag pa papasok dun dahil sa binuksan nating Segment 1 ng NLEX Connector Road,” said Ignacio.
(We have three entry points from Metro Manila to North. These are the Balintawak, Mindanao Toll Plaza, Karuhatan. We opened a new one, the Segment 1 of NLEX Connector Road.)
“Sana po tingnan muna nila ang current situation ng expressway kung talagang matindi ang daloy ang trapiko na ganito baka pwede nila i-adjust ang kanilang pagtravel pwede nila gawin yun,” he added.
(We hope our motorists will look at the current situation of the expressway. Maybe they can adjust their travel time if they see the heavy buildup.)
The NLEX official appealed to motorists to check their vehicles’ condition before heading to their destinations.—Sundy Locus/LDF, GMA Integrated News