MANILA, Philippines — Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar expressed confidence that the Central Luzon Link Expressway (CLLEX) will be an efficient alternate route for those going to Nueva Ecija when it opens next month.

Villar together with Undersecretary for Unified Project Management Office Operations (UPMO) Emil Sadain and Central Luzon director Roseller Tolentino checked yesterday the progress of the project, which is now 94 percent complete.

The first 18-kilometer segment of CLLEX from Tarlac City up to the intersection of the Aliaga-Guimba Road in Nueva Ecija will open next month.

Construction of the P11.8-billion road project, which is funded by a loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency, is implemented by UPMO-Roads Management Cluster 1 headed by project director officer-in-charge Benjamin Bautista.

Sadain said the delivery of right of way requirements are being fast-tracked, with the assistance of the Office of the Solicitor General for expropriation complaints and other ROW-related cases.

More available ROW and favorable weather condition will enable the Department of Public Works and Highways to finish the 10.3-kilometer contract package 4 or Cabanatuan section, which is now 88 percent complete.

The 30-kilometer CLLEX will shorten travel time between Tarlac City and Cabanatuan City from 70 to 20 minutes.

The new expressway will also form an important east-west link for the Central Luzon network and ensure seamless traffic for motorists from Metro Manila and vice versa through the North Luzon Expressway, South Luzon Expressway and Tarlac-Pangasinan Expressway.