MPCALA Holdings Inc., the winning bidder for the P35.42-billion Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX) public-private partnership (PPP), expects to break ground for the project in the first quarter of 2017, a top official of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) unit said.
MPCALA, a sub-unit of MPIC’s tollroads arm Metro Pacific Tollroads Corp. (MPTC), received the notice of award for the 35-year contract to build operate and maintain the 44.6-kilometer toll road through Cavite and Laguna.
“CALAX, we are hoping [to break ground]early next year. First quarter,” Rodrigo Franco, MPTC’s chief executive officer (CEO), told reporters at the sidelines MPIC’s first quarter financial briefing in Makati City.
Last year, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) chief Rogelio Singson said the construction of the project could begin in March 2016.
However, Franco, during the recent interview, said there are still many things that needed to be settled before the construction can proceed.
For instance, the right of way (ROW) for the project site is still at a very early stage. Franco said only a small percentage of the ROW has been acquired.
“We just starting mobilizing,” Franco said.
He noted that if the groundbreaking proceeds in the first quarter of 2017, then the project is still within the schedule dictated by the timeline. “It is still within the timeline,” he said.
When the contract was awarded to MPCALA in June 2015, the conglomerate said it expected the ROW to be completed after 24 months maximum.
Franco explained that the process is a long and tedious one and the laundry list of important things to do is quite long before the construction could begin.
MPTC is looking to raise funds for the project later this year.
MPIC group made a down payment of P5.4 billion to the government, representing 20 percent of the P27.3 billion premium it offered to pay the government.