By Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 20, 2014 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Private Infra Development Corp. (PIDC), a unit of diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC), yesterday said the completion of the P24-billion Tarlac – Pangasinan – La Union expressway (TPLEX) project is on track this year.
PIDC president Mark Dumol said the toll operator is set to open the 13.66-km segment from Rosales to Urdaneta in Pangasinan today and is expected to ease traffic flow to and from northern Luzon during the Christmas holidays.
He added that the opening of the segment would also help accommodate commuters travelling to Manila during the visit of Pope Francis from Jan. 15 to 19.
“Construction of TPLEX is well on track and while we still have to make a few more refinements, it is safe to use. We’re opening early as service to the public,” he said.
He added that users could use the toll road free of charge until Jan. 20.
With the opening of the new section, the total length of the four-lane 88.5-kilometer TPLEX now operational is about 63 kilometers.
“Many families will be traveling to and from northern Luzon during the Holidays, and this is our company’s Christmas present to them,” he said.
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 and the North Luzon Expressway.
From end-to-end, the TPLEX will traverse 17 towns and two cities (Tarlac and Urdaneta City) across four provinces: Tarlac, Pangasinan, La Union and Nueva Ecija.
The TPLEX under a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) program is being undertaken by the all-Filipino consortium, including the Consunji-led DMCI Holdings Inc.
Since its diversification to infrastructure, SMC has been aggressive in pursuing much-needed road projects.