The Philippines Goes World-Class with Clark, Subic Tarlac Expressway (SCTex) Opening
Clark Freeport - Tuesday, March 18, 2008
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo made an appearance and led a convoy on Tuesday, formally launching a one-week test-run for the 50-kilometer Subic-Clark portion of SCTex. At 10 a.m. Tuesday, the President-led convoy left from Clark Logistic Interchange in Mabalacat towards the Subic Freeport in Zambales.
What an experience it was, after many delays, due to contractor and property owner issues, the new Clark, Subic, Tarlac Expressway (SCTex) is indeed reality! An opportunistic soft-opening provided us the ability to experience this super-highway first-hand.
Although only open for four short hours the first day, from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm, at least we are able to test the super-highway for ourselves. Clark Subic Marketing took advantage of the dry-run and made the trip from the North Luzon Expressway interchange to Subic Bay in a period of about 40 minutes to the main toll-gate at the entance road to Subic.
The trip was effortless, wide-open and beautiful in scope as the highway meanders through scenic and green countryside. So pleasing is the drive, and in extreme sharp contrast to the usual route via the old Jose Abad Santos Avenue (JASA) roadway through San Fernando, Bacolor, GuagGua, Labau, Hermosa and so forth.
Gone is the experience of countless tricycle sidecars, slow jeepnies, dangerous 20 ton buses and semi-trucks playing chicken with you, and without the usual, arduous, frustrating fume-filled travel. Now, you can travel to Subic Bay in absolute total splendor and freedom, with much-improved safety and high-speed via a brand new, guardrail separated, super-expressway built to international standards.
Our first look at this marvelous engineering marvel reminded us of mega highways in fully-developed nations such as the U.S., Japan or Europe.
As you drive at or above the speed limit of 100 km/h, you notice how smooth and quiet the surface is. We took particular note of the fact that this highway is fully-divided, with protective guardrails separating the entire length. The long-expanse concrete and steel bridges are a marvel to look at as they span impressive riverbeds and old lahars from Mt. Pinatubo.
As you approach the areas where the construction crews had to blast the hills and mountainous terrain, you notice concreted erosion and landslide protection on the slopes next to the highway.
The superhighway is due to be open from Wednesday, March 19 to Monday, March 24th to make-way for all of the Holy Week travelers from 5:30 am to 5:30 pm. Only type 1 vehicles or chartered buses and motorcycles with a minimum displacement of 400 cc will be allowed entry to SCTEx. Travel on this piece of Philippines infrastructure will be free for this Holy Week period. The entire highway is due to be completely operational by April.
If you are considering a stay in the Clark Freeport, SCTex provides the perfect opportunity to enjoy Clark Zone, while, availing yourself of an international-standard mega-highway to experience the ocean and mountain forest play land of Subic. Experience the international standard for the Philippines; experience Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway for yourself. This super-expressway is a class-act that elicits a feeling of progress towards a bright, new future for the Philippines.