MANILA, Philippines - The 17-kilometer first phase of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union expressway (TPLEX) is set for a soft opening today, as thousands of Filipinos are expected to head to their provinces for the All Saints Day holiday.
San Miguel Corp. is expecting to complete the P24-billion, 88.6-kilometer TPLEX by 2016.
In a statement, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said the TPLEX will enhance the business climate and tourism in Luzon.
"The TPLEX will not only provide faster, safer, and convenient travel north of Metro Manila during this peak season and beyond, it will also help enhance business and tourism in Central and Northern Luzon," he said.
The first phase of TPLEX is from La Paz in Tarlac City, then to Victoria, and finally to Gerona, Tarlac province. This is expected to cut travel time by as much as 40 minutes to and from Baguio City.
The next phase involves a section up to Rosario, Pangasinan, which is expected to be completed by mid-2014. Another section will be built to Rosario, La Union, targeted for completion by 2016.
Earlier, SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang said the TPLEX, a through Private Infra Dev Corp. (PIDC), is the conglomerate’s first foray into the construction of tollways.
"The opening of TPLEX holds great significance for us because this is the first in a number of major greenfield projects since we began diversifying into new businesses," Ang said.
The Department of Public Works and Highways and the DOTC-Toll Regulatory Board jointly supervise the TPLEX. DPWH oversees the expressway’s civil works requirements, while the DOTC-TRB oversees the proper operations of the expressway.