MANILA, Philippines — Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) unit MPCALA Holdings Inc. is on track to complete the construction of the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAx) by 2020, despite a delay in the delivery of right-of-way.

“Well, it’s delayed on the right-of-way but we think we can accelerate and complete it still by end of December,” MPCALA Holdings president and chief executive officer Luigi Bautista told reporters.

He said the target is to complete the CALAx before the end of 2020.

While substantial right-of-way to start construction on the Cavitex side of the CALAx has yet to be delivered, he said MPCALA Holdings has ordered contractor Leighton Contractors Asia Ltd. to do preliminary works.

“We already issued letter of award,” he said.

He also said the signing of the contract for the 27-kilometer (km) segment of the CALAx with Leighton could take place early next year.

MPCALA Holdings signed the agreement with D.M. Consunji Inc. for the construction of the 18-km Laguna segment of the CALAx in March.

Last June, MPCALA Holdings broke ground for the Laguna segment of the CALAx.

MPCALA Holdings bagged the contract for the P35.43 billion CALAx under the public-private partnership program in 2015.

The CALAx will cover a four-lane, 45-km expressway to link Manila-Cavite Toll Expressway (Cavitex) and South Luzon Expressway (SLEX).

It will start from Cavitex in Kawit, Cavite and end at the SLEX-Mamplasan interchange in Biñan, Laguna.

There will be eight interchanges in locations such as Kawit, Open Canal, Governor’s Drive, Aguinaldo Highway, Silang East, Sta.Rosa-Tagaytay Road, Laguna Blvd. and Technopark.

The concession period will be for 35 years, including five years for design and construction.

Once in place, the expressway is expected to reduce travel time from Cavitex to SLEX by 45 minutes.

At present, MPIC operates the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway and Cavitex through tollways arm Metro Pacific Tollways Corp.

Aside from the CALAx, MPIC is working on other tollway projects such as the NLEX-SLEX Connector Road, NLEX-Harbor Link Segment 10, C-5 South Link, and Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway.

By Louella Desiderio