2 SMC tollways to open this year

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    San Miguel Corp.’s (SMC) two major tollway projects are on track to be fully operational this year up to first quarter next year, according to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

    The opening of the full stretch of the 89.31-kilometer Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union expressway (TPLEx) is set before the end of the year.

    “We are already in the last phase of the 89.31 km expressway connecting Tarlac, Pangasinan, and La Union. We expect to open the new section from Pozorrubio in Pangasinan to Rosario in La Union this 2019,” Mark Villar, DPWH secretary, said.

    This project will effectively reduce travel time from Manila to La Union from six hours to only 3.5 hours, benefitting an average of 20,000 vehicles a day.

    Last Friday, DPWH also announced the substantial completion of the main alignment of Skyway Stage 3 within the year and full operation by first quarter of 2020.

    “To ease traffic congestion in EDSA and C5, we are targeting to open two lanes, one of the northbound and southbound section of the main alignment of Skyway Stage 3. By the end of this year, we expect the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3, an 18.68-kilometer elevated expressway stretched over Metro Manila from Buendia, Makati City to Balintawak, Quezon City, to be completed,” Villar said.

    “Right-of-acquisition for the mainline of Skyway Stage 3 is now almost 100 percent delivered,” he added.

    Villar said the overall status of the Skyway is now at about 75 percent, with sections 1 and 3 more than 80 percent complete.

    According to Villar, other sections are also being fast-tracked to ensure the Skyway’s mainline from Buendia to Balintawak is significantly completed by yearend and it is fully operational by the first quarter of 2020.

    The project will have eight access ramps/interchanges located at Buendia Avenue., Pres. Quirino Avenue (Malate, Manila), Plaza Dilao (Paco, Manila), Nagtahan/Aurora Boulevard (Manila), E. Rodriguez Avenue, Quezon Avenue (Quezon City), Sgt. Rivera St. and North Luzon expressway.

    It will reduce travel time from Buendia to Balintawak from the current two hours to just 15-20 minutes.

    Aside from these two projects, SMC has two major unsolicited projects with DPWH – the extension of TPLEx up to San Juan, La Union and the Boracay bridge project.

    The TPLEx extension has been endorsed to the National Economic and Development Authority-Investment Coordination Committee for approval.

    The proposal involves a 59.4-km. four-lane toll road which will start from the last exit of TPLEx in Rosario and will terminate in San Juan.

    The company also submitted a P5.5-billion unsolicited proposal to build a bridge between Boracay Island and the main Island of Panay, Aklan.