MANILA, Philippines — With the government ban on construction lifted, Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) has restarted construction activities on several major projects that were stalled by the implementation of the community quarantine in mid-March.

“We resumed works on some projects already and are preparing to resume construction of a few others,” MPTC president and chief executive officer Rodrigo Franco told The STAR.

Franco said construction activity for Harbor Link R10 section resumed early last week, along with the Subic expansion and the Cebu Cordova Link Expressway.

Franco said construction of the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX) and North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) Connector projects would restart this week.

Preparatory works on the second segment that would complete the 45-kilometer CALAX had already started prior to the implementation of the community quarantine which suspended construction activities.

The first segment of CALAX, a 10.7-km stretch between the Mamplasan Entry and the Santa Rosa-Tagaytay Interchange, opened in early February.

CALAX is designed to be a four-lane tolled expressway that will connect Manila-Cavite Expressway in Kawit to South Luzon Expressway at the Mamplasan Interchange in Binan, Laguna.

The NLEX Connector Road project, meanwhile, is an eight-km all-elevated highway which would extend the NLEX southward from the end of Segment 10 in C3/5th Avenue, Caloocan City to PUP Sta. Mesa, Manila and connect to the Skyway Stage 3, mostly traversing the Philippine National Railways’ track.

MPTC earlier said it is reviewing targeted completion of all toll road projects depending on the release and recovery from the enhanced community quarantine.

The company expects to spend P107 billion to complete current projects plus an additional P25 billion if it secures the Cavite-Tagaytay-Batangas Expressway, for which it was awarded original proponent status and in respect of which a Swiss challenge is expected during the second half.

In the first quarter, MPTC posted a core net income of P924 million, down 18 percent from the same period last year as a result of lower traffic on all roads due to the implementation of the lockdown as well as higher interest costs on increased borrowings.

Average daily vehicle entries on all four of its domestic tollways declined by six percent to 479,860 in the first quarter compared to 508,051 last year.

By Richmond Mercurio