• MNTC interested in Plaridel Bypass

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    The Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC) is interested in doing the Plaridel Bypass Toll Road Project, MNTC President and CEO Rodrigo Franco said Monday.

    “Yes, we are interested,” said Franco in a text message. “It is a natural extension of NLEX (North Luzon Expressway).”

    MNTC, a subsidiary of infrastructure giant Metro Pacific Investments Corporation, took over the operation and maintenance of the NLEX in 2005 from the state-owned Philippine National Construction Corporation.

    The Plaridel Bypass Road is an arterial road of 24.61 km that will link the NLEX in Balagtas, Bulacan with the Philippine-Japan Friendship Highway, also called Maharlika Highway, in San Rafael, Bulacan.

    It will bypass the town proper of Plaridel and urban areas of Pulilan and Baliuag along the existing Maharlika Highway, thus alleviating the perennial traffic congestion in the core urban areas along Philippine-Japan Friendship Highway road section from Plaridel to San Rafael, Bulacan.

    Meanwhile, the toll road operator is also interested in participating in the bidding for the P29-billion Central Luzon Link Expressway (CLLEx).

    CLLEx is a proposed toll road that will connect the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) to the proposed North Luzon East Expressway (TPLEX) in Cabanatuan toward San Jose City in Nueva Ecija.

    Earlier, MNTC said it is waiting for CLLEx Phase 1, which will be constructed by the government with funding from Japan.

    The second phase will be under the government’s public-Private Partnership Program (PPP).

    The first phase of the proposed expressway, which covers 30 kilometers from the Luisita Interchange of SCTEX and ends in Cabanatuan, will be funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

    The second phase, which will connect Cabanatuan to San Jose City in Nueva Ecija, will be implemented under the PPP program, including the operation and maintenance of the entire 53 kilometers of CLLEx.

    The company said CLLEx Phase 2 is connected to SCTEX, while Plaridel is connected to the Balagtas Bypass. The government is also studying the Plaridel Bypass, which will be auctioned off under PPP.

    The MNTC said since both are in the north, the company is inclined to participate in these projects.

    The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said CLLEx will serve as an important east-west link for a high-standard highway network within a 200-kilometer radius from Metro Manila.

    Phase 1 of CLLEx will cost P14.93 billion and will have five interchanges, seven bridges with a length of 1,886 meters each, and 38 overpass/underpass constructions.

    Phase 2, or the Cabanatuan-San Jose, Nueva Ecija development, will cost P14.20 billion. It involves the construction of a 35.7-kilometer two-lane expressway that will connect Cabanatuan City and San Jose City.

    The project will be financed via official development assistance (ODA) while the operation and maintenance contract will be bid out under the PPP structure.

    When completed, the expressway is seen support the development of regional urban centers in Central Luzon and the Pacific Ocean coastal areas, an effort to tone down the over-concentration of socio-economic activities in Metro Manila, according to the DPWH.

    Target completion for Phase 1 of the project is July 2017.

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