Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC) said that the new concept design for the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) connector road project has been approved by the government.
“We are working on the memorandum of understanding (MOU),” MNTC president Rodrigo Franco said in a text message.
He said they are still working on how to share the right of way of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) “para magkasya yung dalawang project [so that the two projects can fit in].”
“DPWH will submit to NEDA [National Economic and Development Authority] the results of negotiations. We then await NEDA’s clearance to proceed, ire-reconfirm lang siguro [may it will just be reconfirmed]. Yung mga [The] right of way costs more than P2 billion; the ballpark figure is about P16 billion,” Franco said.
He explained that after the reconfirmation of terms and NEDA approval, the project will be subjected to a Swiss challenge, which will probably be done in the third quarter.
“Assuming mabilis ang approval process, pwede siguro August or September yung invitation to bid [Assuming the approval process is swift, perhaps the invitation to bid will be sent out by August or September]. That’s an aggressive target,” Franco said.
Earlier, MNTC said that a Swiss challenge will add at least a year to the project schedule.
In January 2014, the Philippine National Construction Corp. (PNCC) and Metro Pacific Investment Corp. (MPIC) signed an agreement for the construction of a connector road under similar terms as the existing MPIC concession rights for the operation of NLEX through the Manila North Tollways Corp.
MPIC had proposed a 13.4-kilometer, four-lane expressway from Caloocan City to Makati City to link the North and South Luzon expressways.
In October last year, MPIC’s P18-billion NLEX-SLEX connector road proposal was opened for bidding after a government decision to subject the proposed four-lane expressway to a Swiss challenge.
Unsolicited project proposals are subject to a Swiss challenge, a form of public procurement that requires a government agency that has received an unsolicited bid for a public project or services, to publish the bid and invite third parties to match or exceed it.
MNTC earlier said that if it bags the connector road project, it will have to borrow money or raise bonds this year to raise about P15 billion to finance the undertaking.