(The Philippine Star) Updated August 21, 2009 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines - Motorists can look forward to a “quiet” Segment 8.1 of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) as Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC) recently selected a high grade pavement surfacing for this selection of the Expressway, which is currently under construction.
Having in mind the tire noise that the 2.7 kilometer segment of NLEX Phase 2 may created in the residential areas along Mindanao Avenue, MNTC, the tollway builder and concessionaire, has specified the use of stone asphalt (SMA), which provides surface noise reduction of up to six dB(A) for high speed traffic.
SMA provides a textured, durable and rut resistant wearing course and was developed over 25 years ago in Germany to resist the wear caused by studded tires for ice and snow conditions. It is now widely used in Europe, Australia, the US and Canada as a durable asphalt surfacing option for residential streets and highways.
MNTC senior vice president J. Luigi Bautista said that “SMA requires the addition of pure cellulose fiber for conventional asphalt materials such as crushed rock, filler and bitumen. The noise reduction properties of SMA pavements results from the optional texture of the surface.” Bautista added that MNTC researched the material extensively prior to adoption and its use has also been approved by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Bureau of Research and Standards.
There are further benefits to the use of SMA as the high grade asphalt is resistant to road deformation, particularly for roads frequented by vehicles with high axle loads and tire pressures. As a result, there will be less maintenance disruptions for NLEX usersd in the long term as the lifespan of SMA pavements can be two to three times longer than conventional pavements. In addition, there is a reduction in water spray providing safer driving conditions during wet weather.
NLEX Phase 2, the first expansion program of MNTC consists of four satellite road projects, namely, Segment 8.1, linking Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City to the NLEX in Valenzuela, Segment 8.2 connecting Mindanao Avenue to Katipunan Avenue and finally to C-5, Segment 9 linking McArthur Highway in Valenzuela to the NLEX, and Segment 10, connecting McArthur Road to Letre in MalabonCity.
Segment 8.1 comprises the first step to complete NLEX Phase 2, a 22.5-kilometer expansion project designed to provide speedy access to the expressway from all points of Metro Manila.