The 30-kilometer Central Luzon Link Expressway (CLLEX) that links Tarlac City and Cabanatuan City is now 94 percent complete, according to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
In a statement on Wednesday, Public Works and Highways Sec. Mark Villar said that the first 18-kilometer section of CLLEX will soon be accessible to the motoring public.
“From the connection of SCTEX and TPLEX in Balingcanaway, Tarlac City, the contract packages covering Tarlac Section and Rio Chico River Bridge Section with a total length of 10.5 kilometers were fully completed while construction of 9.2 kilometers Aliaga Section of the expressway is 87 percent finished,” the DPWH said.
The agency, however, said that a portion of CLLEX up to the of Aliaga-Guimba Road in Aliaga, Nueva Ecija was supposed to be completed and partially opened by the second quarter of 2021 but was hampered by work restrictions.
According to Undersecretary Emil Sadain, the partial opening of CLLEX has been moved from May to July “after work suspension were issued for the on-going contract packages in compliance to the construction safety guidelines to mitigate and suppress transmission of COVID-19 infection.”
“The pandemic has hit several labor force in the project and workers have to met the requirement by Aliaga Municipal Health Center Management for health clearance based on test,” Sadain said.
Once operational, the ₱11.811-billion expressway is expected to shorten the usual travel time of 70 minutes between Tarlac City and Cabanatuan City to just 20 minutes.
The project is one of the key infrastructure projects that the Japan International Cooperation Agency supports under the Build Build Build program.