Construction of US$ 312.5-M Tarlac-Pangasinan Expressway starts next month

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union, Feb. 7 (PNA)--Construction of the multi-billion peso Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) is set to start by the last week of March this year.

Director Mariano Alquiza of the Department of Public Works and Highways in Region 1 said contractors will begin the construction in Victoria, Tarlac.

He said the project would be completed by 2014 with an initial funding of P11.6 billion.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo led the formal groundbreaking rite for the project at Barangay Subusub, Rosario, La Union last Jan. 27.

The groundbreaking took place just a day after she approved the US$ 312.5-million project in Malacanang.

The TPLEX is an 88.58-kilometer, four-lane highway that will seek to cut travel time from Manila to Baguio by half, to only four hours. Moreover, the project aims to help boost the economic development of the provinces in Northern Luzon.

The expressway is a build-operate-transfer (BOT) project of Private Infrastructure Development Corp., a consortium led by San Miguel Corp. and DMCI Holdings.

The highway will run parallel with the McArthur Highway, starting from La Paz, Tarlac and ending at Rosario, La Union.

In a short project briefing, DPWH Undersecretary Romeo S. Momo said that the project construction was divided into two phases: Phase 1 involves the construction of a two-lane highway; and Phase 2 will be its expansion into a four-lane highway when its capacity reaches 25,000 vehicles per day.

Project proponents have alloted P11.59 billion for the civil works, engineering, project management, contingencies and right of way (ROW) acquisition for the initial two lanes .

The DPWH will provide support in the form of actual acquisition and funding of ROW in the amount of P793 million and cash subsidy of P2.907 billion starting in 2011.

As of Jan. 4 this year, a total of P438 million was already released for the ROW acquisition from Tarlac City to Rosales, Pangasinan.

"The project route alignment starts at the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) Project in La Paz, Tarlac and traverses through the municipalities of Tarlac, Gerona, Paniqui and Moncada, all in the province of Tarlac and the municipalities of Carmen, Urdaneta, Villasis and Sison in Pangasinan province which will end up at the intersection of Rosario-Pugo road in Rosario, La Union," Momo said.

The project components include eight interchanges located at Victoria, Gerona, Paniqui, Moncada, Carmen, Urdaneta, Pozorrubio and Rosario with nine toll plazas and two operation center buildings situated at the Carmen Interchange and other Sub-Centers at selected interchange sites.

TPLEX will have 11 waterway bridges, two viaducts, 66 underpasses/1 overpass and tollway facilities to include toll equipments, rest areas, administrative buildings and maintenance depot.

The partial operations of the TPLEX will be started on March 2012 for the Tarlac-Carmen section; April 2012 for the Carmen-Urdaneta section; and October 2014 for the Urdaneta-Rosario section.

The TPLEX will be operated by the private sector right after completion. (PNA)
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