ROW, pandemic restrictions hinder works on SLEX-TR4

Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - May 22, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Right-of-way and pandemic restrictions are hampering the development of San Miguel Corp.’s second longest expressway project to date.

SMC president Ramon Ang said right-of-way is currently the biggest factor that would determine how fast the 66.74-kilometer South Luzon Expressway Tollroad-4 (SLEX-TR4) project could be completed.

Ang said pandemic restrictions also necessitated that construction work be scaled down.

“Next to the TPLEX (Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway), SLEX-TR4 is our longest expressway project by far. We know from experience the inherent challenges of a project of this scale, so we are able to mitigate them and do the best we can,” Ang said.

“As with any project of this size, acquiring all the necessary rights-of-way is the primary challenge. While we anticipated it will take some time, it also doesn’t mean we don’t do anything. We are using the same strategy we utilized for our Skyway 3 project – which is to concentrate work on all workable areas – and then adjust as other areas become available,” he said.

SMC said the project, which will extend from Sto. Tomas in Batangas to Lucena City in Quezon province, is picking up pace amid the challenges.

“We are in the initial stages of construction for SLEX-TR4, but despite the limitations of the pandemic and delays in right-of-way acquisitions, we’re moving forward and making good progress,” Ang said.

The SLEX-TR4 broke ground in March 2019 and was set to be inaugurated in 36 months.

At present, SMC said work on the project is concentrated on its Section B in Alaminos, Laguna and Section C in Tiaong, Quezon, near the Hacienda Escudero area.

“We are confident that we will eventually overcome all these challenges, with the support of our government, LGUs, and all stakeholders. We are committed to do our part and put all our energy and focus on getting this project done because it is vital to the growth of the Southern Tagalog region,” Ang said.

The project is seen to boost the Southern Tagalog region and significantly contribute to the country’s pandemic-recovery efforts.

Stretching from Sto. Tomas in Batangas to Barangay Mayao in Quezon province, it will shorten the usual travel time of three hours to just 45 minutes.

The toll road will be divided into six sections, namely: Sto Tomas in Batangas to Makban in Laguna, Makban to San Pablo City, San Pablo to Tiaong in Quezon, Tiaong to Candelaria, Candelaria to Tayabas, and Tayabas to Lucena.

“SLEX-TR4 will form part of our interconnected expressway network in the south, designed not just to ease transport of people and goods, but also to disperse economic growth and growth opportunities so it can reach and benefit our countrymen in our regions,” Ang said.

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