By GENALYN KABILING
March 1, 2010, 6:07pm [ Mb.com.ph ]
Two new major road projects are expected to facilitate faster transportation of people and farm products between North Luzon and Metro Manila, spurring economic development in the new “super region.”
President Arroyo launched Monday her tour around the North Luzon Agribusiness Quadrangle (NLAQ) super region with the inauguration the second phase of the newly-rehabilitated 180 kilometer Halsema Highway and the groundbreaking of the P16.8 billion Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX).
The project benefits the super region, which covers the autonomous Cordillera Administration Region (CAR), Regions 1 and 2, and parts of Region 3 particularly the northern portions of Aurora, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, and Zambales provinces.
Mrs. Arroyo traveled first to Mt. Province to open the Mt. Data-Bontoc section of the Halsema Highway road improvement project, amounting to P1.094 billion.
The project, which started in March 2006, included 50.4 kilometers of newly paved roads and the new Boga Bridge in Mt. Data, Bauko.
The entire Halsema Highway, covering 180 kilometers, is the only accessible road from Baguio City to the highlands of Benguet and Mountain Province. It provides a crucial link to Banaue in Ifugao, a major tourism destination in the region.
The completion of Phase 2 of the project is expected to reduce travel time between Baguio and Bontoc from seven hours to just four. It is also seen to boost agricultural and tourism development in CAR.
In her brief remarks at the inauguration of the road project, the President hailed the farmers and small business producers in North Luzon for keeping the nation moving forward.
Another major infrastructure project initiated by the President was the country’s newest expressway – the 88-kilometer, four-lane TPLEX, in Barangay Subusub, Rosario, La Union.
The first phase of the project, amounting to R11.5 billion, will involve the construction of initial two lanes from the La Paz, Tarlac to Rosario, La Union.
The second phase of the project is the expansion into four-lanes when the capacity reaches 25,000 vehicles per day. TPLEX is expected to cut travel time from Tarlac to La Union and Baguio City by two hours and spur economic development in the region.