MANILA, Philippines — Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) unit MPCALA Holdings Inc. is looking to sign the contract for the construction of the Cavite segment of the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAx) by early next year.

“We will sign possibly in January,” MPCALA Holdings president and chief executive officer Luigi Bautista said in a text message.

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

MPCALA Holdings’ contract with DMCI for the Laguna segment is worth P7.2 billion.

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

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

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The CALAx is a four-lane 45-km expressway linking 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.

Bautista said CALAx is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.

Once completed, it is seen 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