VEHICLES may be allowed to use the P2.01-billion Daang Hari-South Luzon Expressway [SLEX] link road ahead of the expected completion of the project in February next year, Ayala Corp., the project contractor, said on Monday.
“Completion of the construction will be February . There [is]typically a lag in construction, completion and commercial operation. Kailangan mo pa ng [you still need]approval from the TRB [Toll Regulatory Board],” John Eric Francia, group head for Corporate Strategy and Development of Ayala Corp., told reporters.
“Hopefully, we would like to see that gap as little as possible,” he said, adding that they have the option to start allowing cars to use the Daang Hari-SLEX link road for free before the official opening.
“If you notice, that’s happened in Skyway, TPLEX [Tarlac-Pampang-La Union Expressway], that is the standard. Meron konting [There is a bit of] sampling. Hopefully hindi naman sobrang haba [it should not be too long]. We have to recover the investment also.”
The project is a highway linking Cavite to Metro Manila through the SLEX and was the first contract auctioned off under the Aquino administration’s public-private partnership (PPP) scheme.
It involves the construction of a new four-kilometer, four-lane toll road from the junction of Daang Reyna and DaangHari in Las Pin~as/Bacoor, Cavite to SLEX through the Susana Heights Interchange in Muntinlupa, traversing the New Bilibid Prison reservation.
The proposed link-road will use the Susana Heights Interchange as exit and entry from north and south of SLEX, and will include the construction of a new bridge or widening of the existing bridge crossing SLEX as well as the expansion of the Susana Heights toll plaza.
The project is under the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and is a build-transfer-operate (BTO) contractual agreement with a concession period of 30 years.
“We were able to go full blast in February [this year]because dun talaga na clear yung right of way on the SLEX side [that was when the right of way issue on the SLEX side was cleared],” he said, adding that it usually takes 12 months to build such a project from full blast.
The link road was originally due for completion in June this year but due to some problems, the target completion date was moved to December. It was moved again to early next year due to rains and flooding.
“But we’re of course pushing — if we get good weather and do all of these catch-up plans — December would have been a fighting target, given the strong rains and floods that were having. Unfortunately it’s too much of a stretch to expect that,” Francia said.