Benefits of Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union expressway cited
By ISAAC R. KLIATCHKO JR.
TARLAC CITY – The construction of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) project, which is set to start in April this year, is expected to be completed in 12 to 14 months, it was announced during by the Department of Public Works and Highways Build-Operate-Transfer Project Management Office (DPWH-BOT-PMO).
Barring unforeseen circumstances, the construction of TPLEX will be completed in 12 to 14 months, Josephine Toble, assistant director of the DPWH Infrastructure Right-of-Way Project Management Office (IROW-PMO), said during a public hearing held here last Thursday.
The 88.58-kilometer TPLEX will reduce travel time from Manila to Baguio by another two hours, said Jesus Jacobe, project management head of the Private Infrastructure Development Corp. (PIDC).
PIDC is the private contractor, while DPWH-BOT-PMO is the government agency implementing the project.
Other benefits of the TPLEX include improved access for local farm produce, reduced road accidents, regional growth, and vehicle-emission reduction, Jacobe said.
With the completion and operation of TPLEX, travel time from Manila to Baguio will take only between three and four hours. This is based on the average travel time of 80 kilometers per hour.
The TPLEX will be linked to the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) exit in Balingcanaway, Tarlac City. It will pass through the towns of Victoria, Gerona, Paniqui, Pura, Moncada, and Anao in Tarlac; Carmen, Urdaneta, and Pozorubio in Pangasinan; and Rosario in La Union.
Interchanges are proposed to be built in Victoria, Gerona, Paniqui, Moncada, Carmen, Urdaneta, and Pozorubio. The exit will be in Rosario, gateway town of La Union.
During the public hearing held at the Capitol Session Hall here and presided by Vice Gov. Marcelino Aganon and Provincial Board Member Rommel David (Tarlac 1st District), chairman of the committee on infrastructure, some local officials opposed the proposed R6 per-square-meter compensation to those whose lots will be traversed by TPLEX.
"The amount of P6 is very low compared to the P80 per square meter paid to lot owners in Concepcion, Tarlac, in the case of the SCTEX," said Pura town Mayor Homobono Sawit Jr.
Sawit has asked the help of the provincial government led by Tarlac Gov. Victor Yap to ensure that affected farmers will not be at the losing end of the negotiations on the right-of-way issue over the TPLEX project.
To address right-of-way compensation problems, it was agreed that both the provincial government and the DPWH-BOT-PMO will submit their respective "just appraisals." Later, an amount acceptable to both parties would be determined.
Board Member David asked the project proponents to allocate enough "access roads."