On weekends, one can see a long queue of vehicles traversing the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX). These are probably city-dwellers who would like to get some whiff of fresh air outside Manila and Tagaytay or Batangas seem to be the closest to the city. Before the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX) was opened, traffic would stretch as far back as Alabang and it would be a crawl from there. So it was such a relief to have the CALAX road opened a few years back and according to an email interview with one of the MPTC officers that “they are working closely with DPWH and Sec. Mark Villar is seeing to it that the whole 45km stretch be finished as projected in 2022.”
Basically, CALAX presents a far better alternative if you motor south—a faster and less gas-consuming road that motorists have been yearning for long ago. Groundbreaking of the project was in June 2017 with construction of the Cavite portion of the expressway starting in April 2018. The total length of the roadway is 44.63 km with its West terminus in Santa Rosa Laguna (South Luzon Expressway) and its North end in Kawit, Cavite and the Manila-Cavite Expressway. It crosses the major cities of General Trias, Santa Rosa, Biñan, Imus, Dasmariñas. In short, the project is a 4-lane closed-system tolled expressway connecting CAVITEX and SLEX. The project will start from the CAVITEX in Kawit, Cavite and end at the SLEX-Mamplasan Interchange in Biñan, Laguna.
The MPCALA HOLDINGS INC. (MHI), a subsidiary of Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC), and operator of CALAX, reported that the road construction has already achieved, as of January 2021, 83% construction progress on the new Subsection 5 of Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX) and is set to open to motorists on the 2nd quarter of 2021. Subsection 5 covers the 7.2-kilometer link from Santa Rosa-Tagaytay Interchange to Silang East Interchange. Ongoing works include bridge deck and pavement construction, drainage works, road furniture and sound barriers, and structures of Silang (Aguinaldo) Interchange.
Combined with the Subsection 5 intensified effort this 2021 is the construction of Subsection 4 up to Silang (Aguinaldo) Interchange. At 12% construction progress, the Subsection 4 is set to be completed in the 1st quarter of 2022. MPCALA Holdings Inc, in a press statement, said that it is doubling their construction efforts to avoid any unnecessary delay, while ensuring safety in the workplace to ensure the protection of its workers from COVID-19.
CALAX, upon its completion, will serve 50,000 motorists every day from Laguna and Cavite. The tollway will reduce travel time from the farthest point in Laguna to Manila in 30 minutes. Currently, the Mampalasan to Sta. Rosa CALAX section, which opened last November 2019, serves around 10,000 motorists daily.
The CALAX system will boast state-of-the-art, world-class features to ensure safety and security for every motorist. Automatic License Plate Recognition System provides additional vehicle identification enabling barrier-less entry. An improved RFID system leads to higher and more efficient lane throughput. Weigh in Motion sensors will detect overloaded vehicles. IP Based Speed Detection Cameras and HD CCTVs cover the entire expressway for traffic monitoring and incident detection.
According to the same MPTC officer, “CALAX is viewed as a big-ticket infrastructure project that will start a new momentum of regional growth in provinces south of Metro Manila. MPCALA Holdings Inc. is pleased that the project is moving as it should and jobs are being generated. As a socially responsible corporate citizen, MHI would like to add value to their presence, not just in terms of bringing solutions to the traffic congestion but as a source of livelihood for the Province of Cavite and Laguna.”
For Metro Manilans going to Tagaytay and who like to avoid the jeepneys and trucks clogging the streets of Santa Rosa or Dasmarinas for that matter, CALAX from SLEX Mampalasan entry is a welcome relief; an hour-long (or more) journey through crowded streets is avoided in what could be a matter of a 10-minute drive-by. Happy motoring everyone!