Manila Standard Today, 23 December 2013
By Lailany P. Gomez
A unit of San Miguel Corp. will complete the construction of the P23.8-billion Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway by 2015, or three years ahead of schedule, Ramon Ang, president of the conglomerate, said over the weekend.
San Miguel’s subsidiary Private Infra Dev Corp. Inc. holds the concession to operate the 88.85-kilometer expressway.
The TPLEX is being built under a build-operate-transfer scheme by a local consortium that includes DMCI Holdings Inc. President Benigno Aquino III will formally open a 23-kilometer stretch of the expressway through an inaugural drive-through Monday.
“In terms of construction, we are ahead of schedule. We are on track to delivering the entire length of TPLEX as early as 2015,” Ang said.
The inaugural drive-through will coincide with the opening of the expressway’s Paniqui exit, which will bring to 23 kilometers the total length of TPLEX already open to commuters.
PIDC opened the project’s 17-kilometer Phase 1A from Tarlac City to Gerona to the public in October.
The company said work was ongoing on the 27-kilometer stretch from Paniqui to Moncada in Tarlac, and to Carmen in Pangasinan, including the construction of the 950-meter Agno viaduct.
The PIDC said while the portion was originally slated for completion by December 2014, it expected to deliver the jobas early as April next year. It said the two-hour travel time from Tarlac to Carmen would be cut to only 30 minutes by then.
“Right now, we are waiting for the completion of the acquisition of the right-of-way for the 13.72-kilometer portion from the north bank of the Agno river up to Urdaneta. But our government is working on that. We are confident that we will complete this section up to Urdaneta as early as December 2014,” Ang said.
He said the remaining 25.83-kilometer section from Urdaneta to Rosario, La Union, would be completed the following year, or a full three years ahead of the original 2018 target.
The TPLEX, one of several infrastructure projects in San Miguel’s portfolio and its first greenfield tollway project, is seen as a vital road project in Luzon, connecting the central and northern Luzon provinces to Manila and beyond through the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway and the North Luzon Expressway.