MANILA, Philippines — Diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC) may receive the green light to proceed with the extension of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) by March 2024 if no one challenges its original proposal for the project.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said yesterday that it would now start the Swiss challenge to solicit other proposals for the TPLEX Extension Project.
Public Works Undersecretary Maria Catalina Cabral said the DPWH would develop and publish an invitation for comparative proposals for the SMC project.
With a challenger, the project is expected to be awarded by May 2024. Otherwise, Cabral said it may be issued to the original proponent by March 2024.
Cabral said all unsolicited proposals have to undergo a Swiss challenge as mandated by the revised implementing rules and regulations of the Build-Operate-Transfer Law. This ensures that other parties get the chance to compete for a project.
Once the contract is granted, civil works for the TPLEX Extension may proceed, and the DPWH expects the project to be completed within five years.
The DPWH wants to get the construction of the TPLEX Extension started as soon as possible, as it is relied on to speed up the flow of trade and travel around the north of Luzon.
The TPLEX Extension is estimated to bring down the travel time between Rosario and San Juan, La Union to just 40 minutes, from 1.5 hours at present.
Likewise, the DPWH believes extending the TPLEX will contribute in turning the Ilocos Region into a viable hub for investments. The project is also expected to decongest the traffic buildup in the area, especially MacArthur Highway (Manila North Road).
The TPLEX Extension will expand TPLEX with a four-lane toll road spanning 59.4 kilometers. It will begin at the last exit of the TPLEX in Rosario, La Union and will terminate in San Juan, a surfing hotspot.
San Miguel Holdings Corp., the original proponent, is planning to invest P23.36 billion to deliver TPLEX Extension.
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The article was originally published in PhilStar Global and written by Elijah Felice Rosales.