SMC to open new segment of TPLEx

Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) - April 14, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. through Private Infra Development Corp. (PIDC) is looking at opening a new section of the P24-billion Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx).

Mark Dumol, president of PIDC, told participants of the SMC – Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines (EJAP) annual business journalism seminar, that the toll road operator is set to open Section 1B of the expressway on April 16 in time for the Holy Week.

Dumol, however, said the opening would depend on the issuance of a toll operations permit by the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB).

 â€œIf everything goes well, we should open by Wednesday,” he stressed.

According to Dumol, the section to be opened on Wednesday is 32.3 kilometers from Paniqui to Carmen.

He said about 49.3 km.of the 88.85-km portion of the TPLEx would be opened.

On the other hand, he said Section 2 of the toll road stretching 13.72 km from Carmen to Urdaneta in Pangasinan would be opened this December.

Dumol said the last section stretching 25.83 km from Urdaneta in Pangasinan to Rosario in La Union would be completed next year.

He added that the government is shelling out P3 billion worth of subsidy for the last section.

In October last year, PIDC opened the project’s 17-km Phase 1A from Tarlac City to Victoria, Pura, then Gerona, for free, to the public.

President Aquino formally opened the Paniqui exit of TPLEx via an inaugural drive-through last Dec. 23 bringing to 23 km the total length of the TPLEx that is operational.

SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang earlier said PIDC expects to fully complete the toll road by 2015 or three years ahead of 2018 schedule.

 â€œIn terms of construction, we are ahead of schedule. We are on track to delivering the entire length of TPLEx as early as 2015,” Ang stressed.

The two-hour travel time from Tarlac to Carmen will be shorten to only thirty minutes. Once completed, it will cut travel time from Tarlac to La Union to an hour.

The TPLEx, one of several infrastructure projects in SMC’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.

From end-to-end, the TPLEx will traverse 17 towns and two cities (Tarlac and Urdaneta City) across four provinces: Tarlac, Pangasinan, La Union and Nueva Ecija. The TPLEx under a build-operate-transfer (BOT) program is being undertaken by the all-Filipino consortium including the Consunji-led DMCI Holdings Inc.

Since its diversification to infrastructure, SMC has been aggressive in pursuing much-needed road projects.

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