MANILA – Now that almost all economic activities under the general community quarantine and eventually modified general community quarantine in Luzon are allowed, stalled big government infrastructure projects are more likely to resume soon.
Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, in a live TV-interview on Friday in Rosario, La Union while conducting a site visit in the newly accomplished section of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX), said formal opening of the section would be on July 15. Villar had expected this 11-kilometer segment, which is part of the 88.85-kilometer TPLEX road project would drastically reduce the travel time from Tarlac to La Union.
“About 20,000 commuters will benefit from this road daily and it will be a big deal to reduce their travel time like traveling from Balintawak to La Union which would only take about 2.5 hours only,” Villar said. Travel time from Tarlac to Rosario would be reduced by an hour from the current 3.5 hours when this section opens on July 15.
Sec. Villar also disclosed that another section of the TPLEX to reach San Fernando in Pampanga would start within the year. “Dahil tapos na po ito, nadeliver na po ang section ng TPLEX na ito, may inaayos kami na extension haggang sa San Fernando,” (Inasmuch as this part of the TPLEX is finished and delivered, we are now working on the extension until San Fernando), he further said.
He said his team is waiting for the approval of the National Economic Development Authority and finalizing the work details before commencing the new project. “Kung makuha namin ang NEDA approval ay tuloy na po and construction,” (If we can get the NEDA approval then the construction will start soon), he continued.
According to Sec. Villar, the toll fee rates may be Php 3.50 per kilometer for Class 1 vehicles, and Php 2.50 per kilometer for Class 2 vehicles.
The TPLEX is part of the major infra project funded by San Miguel Corporation’s Private Infrastructure Development Corporation, which aims to be integrated with Subic-Clark-Tarlac-Expressway (SCTEx) and the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) connecting the central and northern Luzon provinces to Manila and beyond.