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CALAX groundbreaking expected in April

Posted on March 11, 2017 [ ]

THE METRO Pacific group will break ground on the P35.43-billion Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX) project next month after signing the construction contract on Friday with D.M. Consunji, Inc. (DMCI).

MPCALA Holdings, Inc., a unit of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC), the tollways arm of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), is set to start construction of the Laguna segment of the CALAX, one of the largest public-private partnership (PPP) projects, which it expects to finish by July 2020.

“We plan to break ground next month, three months ahead of schedule. By the end of 2020, when we inaugurate the expressway, CALAX will be the most modern expressway in the country,” Luigi L. Bautista, MPCALA President and CEO said on Friday.

MPCALA received the notice of award for the 35-year contract to build, operate, and maintain the planned expressway on June 8, 2015. Right of way issues for the project site have delayed the start of construction.

The CALAX project involves the construction of a 44.6-kilometer four-lane toll road between the Cavite Expressway in Kawit, Cavite and the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx)-Mamplasan Interchange in BiƱan, Laguna. It will have eight interchanges and one main toll barrier and is expected to ease road congestion south of the capital.

“The actual construction (will involve) clearing works and preparatory works before April 4. So by the time we break ground, there will be equipment working on the ground,” Mr. Bautista told reporters on the sidelines of the construction contract signing on Friday, noting that so far, an initial seven kilometers of the project has cleared right-of-way hurdles, or approximately 16% of the total.

“It’s enough for DMCI to work on for maybe, six months,” the MPCALA chief added.

A project timeline released in December showed that construction starting at the Laguna segment is scheduled for the first quarter, with construction to start by the third quarter for the rest of the project sections. A project brief from the Department of Public Works and Highways said that detailed engineering design was prepared beginning July 2015, while right of way acquisition started in the same month.

During the signing ceremony, the timeline presented showed that construction of the Cavite section will start on July 2017 and its targeted to end by July 2020.

The contract with DMCI to build the 18-kilometer road amounts to P7.2 billion and MPIC is currently in talks with “several banks” to raise about P17 billion for the CALAX project.

The Metro Pacific group won the auction for the project after submitting a P62.72-billion bid -- P27.3-billion premium it offered to pay the government on top of the project’s P35.42-billion construction cost.

MPIC is one of three key Philippine units of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being Philex Mining Corp. and PLDT, Inc. Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. -- Imee Charlee C. Delavin

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