Saturday, March 22, 2008

Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX)

This is not particularly aviation related, however, the expressway runs right past Omni Aviation, where I keep my planes (I could throw a tennis ball from the expressway as I drove past and bounce it off my plane, that's how close it is)

The Subic, Clark, Tarlac Expressway, as the name implies, is supposed to link all three Economic Zones (Freeports) with a corridor.

The expressway was open over Easter for a dry run, so I figured, why not, lets see how well they have done.

Well, there lies the first problem, getting onto the expressway. Believe it or not, there is no entry/exit point within the Clark Freeport. What??? You mean we have to exit the zone, fight the traffic and finally get onto the expressway right between the Main and Mabalacat gates. Yes folks, the entrance is at Mabiga which is located in a very heavy traffic zone right between the two gates.

Now this was Good Friday (no traffic) it took 30 minutes form Omni to the Entry at Mabiga. I would hazard to guess it would be 40-50 minutes on a normal day, IF no trucks decide to use the Entry/Exit.

Ok, so I get off McArthur Highway and find myself heading AWAY from the expressway! WHAT!!! Fortunately, some kind soul had put a U Turn Slot so we could turn around and head back in the right direction. If we had not made the U Turn, we would have been on the NLEX headed for Manila

Passing through the toll gate, only a few booths, so they must not figure on high volumes of traffic, we found ourselves on a World Class Road, immaculate. It appears to be a first Class piece of work.

Forty minutes later, I was ordering a Cold Mango Shake at Magellans Landing on the water at Subic, wonderful. The Subic end was a breeze, getting off and on, it all worked and made sense. (Why can't Clark do that?)

Coming back, I planned on seeing how the road to Tarlac was, lo and behold, I found a CSEZ Exit, all signed, complete with Toll Booths, magnificent! It was blocked off so it could not be used, slowing down for a peek, I could see why, the road finished 100 meters or so after the toll booths. It goes nowhere!!

Unfortunately, further up, we had to turn around as the Tarlac Segment was not open, so off to the Nlex exit and the U Turn Slots again. What a mess!

I am told on good authority (actually, it was a signpost stuck in the side of the road) that there will be a Clark South Exit, just north of Omni (Hurrah!) I believe that GMA is insisting on it. Perhaps she is the only one blessed with enough sense to see the need.

We really look forward to the day where we can run down to Subic for lunch, open up a branch operation in subic by the water and operate our businesses and lives as if we were in the real world

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