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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Villarica pushes Meycauayan traffic program

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MEYCAUAYAN—Like Malolos City, the provincial capital of Bulacan, this gateway city to the North known as the haven of world-class jewelry also suffers the bane of highly urbanized cities—heavy traffic—particularly in the North Luzon Expressway toll plaza.

The local leadership is enforcing a parking ban on national roads, and planning the creation of more one-way streets and alternative routes for cargo trucks to address the problem.

Newly elected City Mayor Henry Villarica revealed a  comprehensive traffic management program for the burgeoning city population.

Villarica, the 1971 bar exam topnotcher, told the Manila Standard that “solving the traffic problem is crucial to the future of our city.   Years ago, we were known as the jewelry capital, but very few know that Meycauayan has become a mecca of companies that provide the backbone of the country’s industrialization.”

The traffic mess in both directions of the Malhacan-Iba-Camalig Road especially during rush hour strands thousands of motorists and commuters on this national highway.

The plant of Steel Asia Inc., the biggest manufacturer of iron bars used in construction projects in Metro Manila and Luzon, is in one of the sprawling industrial parks in the interior limits of the city bordering Valenzuela City. 

This explains the long queue of hauler trucks and container vans that crowd the narrow national road that connects the old McArthur Highway to the NLEx all the way to Barangay Camalig—where the new Meycauayan City Hall is located. 

“Initially, we are implementing remedial measures to speed up the flow of traffic like the strict ban on parking on our national roads with corresponding fines for violators.   There will be more one-way streets,” Villarica explained.

“At present there is only one entry and exit point for trucks on the NLEx so it causes a daily bottleneck. There should be alternative routes especially for long-bed trucks,” he said.

Villlarica said he was aware that long term-solutions require the legal exercise of the city’s power of eminent domain or expropriation of private lands to be used as roads.

The mayor, whose wife is Bulacan’s 4th District Rep. Linabelle Ruth Villarica, said he is even willing to share a portion of their real properties to quickly ease traffic.

Among the proposed long-term solutions, include:

opening an NLEx Bypass Exit on Libtong-Iba Road to north-bound heavy vehicles coming from Balintawak;

opening an NLEx Bypass Exit on F. Raymundo Road also to north-bound heavy vehicles towards Barangay Iba where several big industrial parks are located.

opening of a Bypass Exit to south-bound vehicles in the St. Francis Subdivision area, where a temporary exit existed some years ago;

and construction of an NLEx Overpass on F. Raymundo Road to serve as a second link to the eastern and western side of Meycauayan that is separated by the expressway.

Villarica believes that the proposed four-point opening along the North expressway is the lasting solution aside from the road-widening initiatives that are now in the pipeline of the city engineering office.

“I hope the NLEX management will quickly act on our proposal which I believe is the answer to the worsening traffic,” he said.

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