By Alena Mae Flores
San Miguel Corp. submitted an unsolicited offer to the Department of Public Works and Highways to extend the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway, or TPLEx, to Ilocos Sur with an estimated stretch of 100 kilometers, its top official said Tuesday.
“We proposed an extension of TPLEx going to Ilocos. It’s pending with DPWH for them to evaluate. If they like the project they will give an OPS (Original Proponent Status), and then subject to Swiss Challenge,” San Miguel president Ramon Ang told reporters.
He said the proposed 100-km extension would start from Rosario, La Union and end in the first town of Ilocos Sur.
“We are still looking at the costing,” Ang said.
San Miguel-led Private Infra Dev Corp. holds the concession for TPLEx. The expressway is an 88.85-km, four-lane, high-speed toll road that connects Northern Luzon to Manila. It is designed to integrate with other major toll roads such as North Luzon Expressway and Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway.
The construction of TPLEx began in 2010 in three phases. The first was completed in April 2014, running from Tarlac City to Carmen, Pangasinan. The second stretching from Carmen to Urdaneta was completed in December 2014. The third section from Urdaneta to Rosario, La Union is expected to be completed in 2018.
TPLEx reduced travel time from Tarlac City to Gerona from 45 minutes to 10 minutes, benefitting 8,000 vehicles per day.
It trimmed travel time from Tarlac City to Paniqui, Tarlac from one hour to 15 minutes, benefiting 10,000 vehicles per day and cut travel time from Tarlac to Rosales from two hours to 30 minutes with 13,000 vehicles per day benefitting.
It also reduced travel time from Tarlac to Urdaneta from two hours and 30 minutes to 40 minutes and cut travel time from Tarlac to Rosario from 3.5 hours to one hour.
PIDC is the proponent of the TPLEX through the Build-Transfer-Operate (BTO) Scheme under the BOT Law. PIDC is an all-Filipino consortium led by Rapid Thoroughfares Inc. (a wholly owned SMC Subsidiary), Grand Trackway Holdings Inc., DMCI Holdings Inc., and D.M. Consunji, Inc. as partners.