THE final phase of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx) project is set to open this month, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said.

DPWH “Build, Build, Build” Committee Chairperson Anna Mae Y. Lamentillo told BusinessWorld in a phone message Tuesday that the 11.45-kilometer Pozorrubio, Pangasinan to Rosario, La Union segment of TPLEx will “open this month.”

She added that the formal opening of the Pozorrubio-Rosario segment may take place “by the last week” of the month.

Private Infra Dev Corp., a San Miguel-controlled company, holds the concession for TPLEx, an 88.85-kilometer toll road that links Northern Luzon to Metro Manila.

The toll road, according to San Miguel Corp., is designed “to integrate with other major toll roads” such as North Luzon Expressway and Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway.

TPLEx is composed of eight segments: La Paz, Tarlac to Victoria (Segment 1); Victoria to Gerona (Segment 2); Gerona to Paniqui (Segment 3); Paniqui to Moncada (Segment 4); Moncada to Carmen (Segment 5); Carmen to Urdaneta (Segment 6); Urdaneta to Pozorrubio (Segment 7); and Pozorrubio to Rosario (Segment 8).

Ms. Lamentillo said the Segment 8 was supposed to be formally opened in April, but was delayed by the coronavirus lockdown.

The DPWH has said that upon full completion, TPLEx will reduce travel time from Tarlac to Rosario, La Union from 3.5 hours to just an hour, with an average usage of about 20,000 vehicles per day. — Arjay L. Balinbin