DPWH open to expressway extension proposal

THE Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is open to San Miguel Corp.’s P24-billion proposal to extend its Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) to San Juan town, La Union province.

“We’re open. Extension naman ‘yan ng TPLEX nila (It’s the extension of its TPLEX),” Public Works Secretary Mark Villar said in a chance interview.

“They have to submit additional requirements. Part of the requirement for unsolicited proposals is the feasibility study, but we also need the economic case and the source of funding,” he added.

The proposal was submitted on February 14.

A document on the DPWH website showed that the project involves building a 59.4-kilometer toll road that will begin from the 89.31-kilometer TPLEX’s last exit in La Union’s Rosario municipality and end in San Juan.

The extension will be divided into three segments: Rosario to Tubao town (18 km); Tubao to Naguilan municipality (23 km); and Naguilian to San Juan (18.4 km).

There is no need to rush in building the extension, as San Miguel is still finishing the expressway’s final phase until Rosario, Villar said, referring to the project’s Section 3B that begins in Pangasinan province’s Pozorrubio town.

According to the department’s website, this section is 21.22-percent complete.

Once TPLEX is completed, travel time from Tarlac to La Union would be cut from three-and-a-half hours to one hour, and would benefit 20,000 vehicles daily.

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