NLEX flood prompts quick approval from PBBM to raise Tulaoc Bridge, expressway segment to be elevated next

The recent rains have continued to wreak havoc everywhere, the latest of which was along NLEX. The area of Tulaoc Bridge in San Simon, Pampanga overflowed and caused flooding that backed up vehicles along the expressway for hours on end, and for more than just a day. MPTC issued a statement regarding their intention to raise the road segment but could not because of the bridge. PBBM has stepped in and approved the raising of the said bridge, after which, the expressway concessionaire can go about raising the road level as well.

NLEX will raise road level after Tulaoc Bridge is raised by 0.7 meters

Nlex Tulaoc Bridge San Simon Pampanga Dpwh Inline 01 Min

Photo: NLEX Corp.

The intention was always there to elevate the actual road level along the San Simon, Pampanga of the expressway. This has been curtailed, however, by the presence of the Tulaoc Bridge. Simply lifting the road may address possible flooding but as container trucks do ply along the expressway, this can be dangerous to do as far as the trucks’ and bridge’s heights are concerned.

PBBM has since stepped in and given the approval to lift Tulaoc Bridge first, and once this is done, the North Luzon Expressway administration can go about elevating the road level.

Nlex Tulaoc Bridge San Simon Pampanga Dpwh Inline 02 Min

Photo: NLEX Corp.

“Hindi naman masyadong mabigat na trahaho iyan because it’s an existing bridge. We just have to jack it up, ma-i-akyat namin ng about 0.7 meters yata iyong gagawin and then consequently kapag naitaas namin, sila naman sa NLEX itataas din nila iyong pavement nila. Ganoon po iyong arrangement namin [That’s not a heavy job because it’s an existing bridge. We just have to jack it up, raise it by about 0.7 meters. Consequently, once we’re done NLEX will also elevate its pavement. That’s our arrangement],” said Secretary Manuel Bonoan in a Palace briefing last Tuesday. Bonoan added that PBBM had deemed this as an “urgent matter”.

Nlex Tulaoc Bridge San Simon Pampanga Dpwh Inline 03 Min

Photo: NLEX Corp.

All of these are considered to be medium-term solutions to the flooding problem, with the long-term solution being the construction of a water impounding facility in Candaba town, the catch basin of water coming from surrounding areas.

That said, the construction works to lift the bridge and the road level will inevitably bring traffic to the area. This is a small price to pay than waiting for hours just to get past this section should it be inundated by flood waters again. Of course, we hope that doesn’t happen any time soon, and that the required work be started sooner than later.

Speaking of rain, here are a few tips that you may find useful if you find yourself caught and driving in a downpour.

Mikko Juangco
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