MANILA, Philippines–Conglomerate San Miguel Corp. is set to complete the second section of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx) soon, adding close to 14 kilometers of new road linking Rosales to Urdaneta, Pangasinan, to help decongest traffic in Northern Luzon during the holiday season.
SMC president Ramon S. Ang said in a text message on Wednesday that the new section of TPLEx to Urdaneta would be opened to the public this Saturday (Dec. 20). He said the new section would be “toll-free till Jan. 20.”
Other sources said section 2 of TPLEx—the first greenfield tollway project in SMC’s infrastructure portfolio— was actually 95 percent completed now but would be opened to the public starting this weekend to ease traffic flow during the holidays. Prior to its full opening, the section will again be closed to complete the remaining construction work.
Last April, SMC opened the first section of TPLEx running for 49 kilometers up to Rosales in Pangasinan.
Once completed, the four-lane 88.5-kilometer TPLEx is seen drastically reducing travel time to Baguio and other provinces in Northern Luzon. TPLEx connects the central and northern Luzon provinces to Manila and beyond through the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) and the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx). The tollroad is seen reducing road travel from Tarlac to La Union to 45 minutes from 2.5 to 3.5 hours at an average speed of 100 kilometers an hour.
The third and last section of the tollroad from Urdaneta to Rosario will span about 26 kilometers. Ang said this section would be completed by December 2015.
TPLEx is one of the three major toll road projects that SMC intends to complete before the end of President Aquino’s term in 2016. The others are the NLEx-South Luzon Expressway connector road and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport expressway linkage.
If completed by end-2015, TPLEx will run its full length by about three years ahead of schedule. The project was started in end-2013.
As administrator of the toll project, SMC—through unit Private Infra Development Corp. (the TPLEx concessionaire)—will provide management services, toll collection, traffic safety and security management, toll road maintenance and other related services.
The entire length of the tollway will have nine exits: La Paz in Tarlac City, Victoria, Gerona, Paniqui and Moncada in Tarlac; Rosales, Urdaneta City and Pozzorrubio in Pangasinan, and Rosario in La Union.
Meanwhile, SMC’s connector road—also known as Skyway Stage 3—is a 14.8-kilometer, six-lane elevated expressway from Buendia to Balintawak that will link SLEx to NLEx. The project aims to decongest major thoroughfares while at the same time creating new transport routes, giving more travel options to commuters and stretching the capacity of existing transport systems.
In April 2013, the SMC group also won the concession to build and operate the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Expressway, which will connect the Skyway system to all three Naia terminals and the Entertainment City of the state-owned Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.