NLEX-SLEX connector delayed to 2017


Swiss challenge to add at least a year to project schedule
The Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC) expects to hold a Swiss challenge for the P18-billion North Luzon Expressway (NLEX)-South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) Connector Road Project in the second quarter of this year, pushing the planned completion of the project to at least 2017 from its original target of 2016.

“We hope to start the Swiss challenge in the second quarter and to complete the process by fourth quarter,” Rodrigo Franco, president of MNTC said.

“After NEDA Board approval, the next step is to update the project terms in conjunction with the DPWH. We will need to update the design. The cost will also change,” Franco added.

Last week, the NEDA Board approved the NLEX-SLEX Connector Project under the unsolicited mode, which is subject to a Swiss challenge.

A Swiss challenge is 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.

Funding needed
MNTC earlier said that if it bags the connector road project then it will have to borrow money or raise bonds this year.

Franco explained that the company’s borrowing depends on whether or not there is a result from the Swiss challenge; if not, then the connector road will be the company’s next biggest project, and it will need funding.

The company said it may need to raise about P15 billion to finance the connector road project.

Proposal returned in Oct
In October last year, Metro Pacific Investment Corp.’s (MPIC) P18-billion NLEX-South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) connector road proposal was opened for bidding after a government decision to subject the proposed four-lane expressway to a Swiss challenge.

In January 2014, the Philippine National Construction Corp. (PNCC) and MPIC signed an agreement for the construction of the 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.


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