Diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC), through its subsidiary, Private Infra Dev. Corp. Inc. (PIDC), expects to open the 27-kilometer stretch of the Paniqui, Tarlac to Carmen in Pangasinan of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) in time for the Holy Week.
Completion of the 88.85-kilometer TPLEX toll road is expected by 2015. The toll fee from Tarlac to Carmen is P170 for Class-1 cars and P425 for Class-2 vehicles.
PIDC is the concessionaire of the TPLEX.
Mark Dumol of PIDC said people use toll roads to save time and for safety reasons since there are no pedestrians and no tricycles on toll roads.
“But the number one reason why people use toll roads is because when they use a toll road they will know what time they will exit,” Dumol told journalists at the Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines 2014 Business Journalism Seminar, presented by SMC.
Currently, a 23-kilometer stretch of TPLEX is operational. The company is working on the 27-kilometer stretch from Paniqui to Moncada in Tarlac then to Carmen in Pangasinan, including construction of the 950-meter Agno viaduct.
The toll road project is being undertaken through a build-operate-transfer (BOT) scheme by an all-Filipino consortium which includes DMCI Holdings Inc.
“In terms of construction, we are ahead of schedule. We are on track to delivering the entire length of TPLEX as early as 2015,” Ramon Ang, president and chief operating officer of SMC, said in a statement.
In October, PIDC opened the project’s 17-kilometer Phase 1A from Tarlac City to Victoria, Pura, then Gerona, for free, to the public.
The two-hour travel time from Tarlac to Carmen will be reduced to only 30 minutes.
The company said earlier that it is waiting for the completion of the acquisition of the right-of-way for the 13.72-kilometer portion from the north bank of the Agno River up to Urdaneta.
It also said it is confident that it will complete the section up to Urdaneta as early as December 2014.
Ang said that the remaining 25.83-kilometer section from Urdaneta to Rosario, La Union will be completed the following year, a full three years ahead of the original 2018 target.
The TPLEX, one of several infrastructure projects in SMC’s portfolio and its first greenfield tollway project, is seen as a vital road project in Luzon, connecting the Central and Northern Luzon provinces to Manila and beyond through the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) and the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX).
From end to end, the TPLEX will traverse 17 towns and two cities (Tarlac and Urdaneta) across four provinces: Tarlac, Pangasinan, La Union and Nueva Ecija.
Originally designed as a two-lane road, SMC decided to upgrade the project to four lanes to ensure road safety and in anticipation of future traffic growth. It can be expanded up to eight lanes in the future.
Once complete, the TPLEX will cut travel time from Tarlac to La Union to only one hour.