THE stretch of 88.85-kilometer Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) project will be fully operational by 2018, significantly cutting travel time to the northern part of the country, according to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
Secretary Mark Villar on Friday announced that TPLEX is now operational up to Binalonan in Pangasinan as a result of the recent soft-opening of the Urdaneta City-Binalonan segment.
“Upon completion, TPLEX is expected to benefit over 100,000 vehicles per day and will cut travel time to Gerona, Paniqui, Rosales, Urdaneta,and Rosario,” Villar said.
The 13.38-kilometer Pozorrubio in Pangasinan to Rosario in La Union segment will be completed by April 2018.
The opening of the 4.92-kilometer Tarlac-Binalonan segment, Villar said, would benefit about 20,000 vehicles per day and reduce travel time from Tarlac City to Urdaneta from two hours and 30 minutes to about 40 minutes.
TPLEX is a P24.4-billion expressway project under the Public-Private Partnership program, with Private Infra Dev Corp. (PIDC) as proponent through the build-transfer-operate (BTO) scheme under the BOT Law.
PIDC is an all-Filipino consortium led by Rapid Thoroughfares Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of San Miguel Corp.
Villar said the Duterte administration is fast-tracking construction of all projects to ensure that communities are livable, safe and accessible.
“This is only one of the many infrastructure investments which we hope to put in place to increase competitiveness and ease of doing business outside of Metro Manila. By improving our road network, we hope to strengthen agricultural and rural enterprise productivity as well as urban and rural tourism,” he added.
Villar disclosed that that the ongoing construction of the 7.53-kilometer Binalonan-Pozzurubio segment of TPLEX is at 61 percent and is expected completed by December 2016.
WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL