While the Duterte administration’s ambitious infrastructure plan is poised to bring the entire country to an economic boom, a particular P633-billion program in Luzon comprising a slew of highways and expressways is ushering in a golden age of businesses in the region.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), through its massive Luzon Expressway Network Program, aims to lessen road travel time within the country’s largest and most populous island.
Reducing road travel time is always good not only for regular motorists, but also for businesses.
The program, which consists of 905 kilometers of high standard highways and expressways, is seen benefiting many sectors as the new infrastructure network would help ensure the faster movement of vehicles.
By improving supply chain efficiency, industries are thereby expected to thrive further.
The DPWH said the additional network under the Luzon Spine Expressway Network Program is more than twice the 382 kilometers of existing expressways in the island and will reduce travel time between Ilocos and Bicol from 20 hours to just nine.
Of the 23 projects under the Luzon Spine Expressway Network Program, five have been fully completed to date.
These are the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX), NLEX Harbor Link Segment 10, NLEX Harbor Link C3-R10 Section, NAIA Expressway Phase 2, and the second phase of the Arterial (Plaridel) By-Pass Road.
The TPLEX is an 89.21-km expressway from Tarlac City to Rosario, La Union was fully completed this year, with its final 11-km section opened last July by San Miguel Corp.-unit Private Infra Dev Corp.
With the opening of the final section, travel time between Tarlac City and Rosario, La Union have been reduced from 3.5 hours to one hour, benefiting 20,000 travelers per day.
The 5.65-km NLEX Harbor Link Segment 10 was completed last year and has since improved accessibility and connectivity between key areas of Metro Manila and the northern provinces of Luzon via the NLEX.
The project has proven to be a boon for the logistics sector, catering to an average of 30,109 vehicles per day, most of which are from the logistics industry.
It has paved the way for the easier delivery of goods and services in areas between NLEX and Port of Manila.
Last June, Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. also inaugurated the 2.6-km, four-lane elevated ramp extending NLEX Harbor Link Segment 10 to Radial Road 10 (R-10), using C3 Road as its route.
The NLEX Harbor Link C3-R10 Section has shortened travel time from port to NLEX and vice versa from 60 minutes to only 10 minutes.
The NAIA Expressway Phase 2, and the second phase of the Arterial (Plaridel) By-Pass Road were completed in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
Before the year ends, one more project that is part of the Luzon Spine Expressway Network Program is set to open — the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3.
SMC completed the construction of the Skyway 3 project last October, with its opening scheduled by December.
The 18.83-km elevated expressway from Buendia to NLEX in Balintawak will slash travel time to 15 to 20 minutes from two hours. It will decongest EDSA and other major roads in Metro Manila by as much as 55,000 vehicles per day.
For next year, two projects under the Luzon Spine Expressway Network Program are bound to be completed, while four more will be ready by 2022.
Set for completion next year are the Central Luzon Link Expressway (CLLEX) Phase 1 (Tarlac to Cabanatuan) and the Alabang-Sucat Skyway Connection and Ramp Extension Project.
The CLLEX is a 30-km, four-lane expressway which will cut travel time between Tarlac and Cabanatuan City to 20 minutes from 70 minutes.
The project is currently 90-percent complete according to the DPWH, and once finished, is expected to benefit 11,200 motorists daily.
The Skyway Extension project, meanwhile, will extend the Skyway from Susana Heights on the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) to Sucat and back and provide direct access to the elevated section of the Skyway.
It will connect the SLEX and the Muntinlupa Cavite Expressway to the Skyway at Susanna Heights, bypassing Alabang to make travel from south to north via the Skyway System seamless and much shorter.
The northbound section of the project will be delivered by December, while its southbound section will be completed by July next year.
For 2022, more projects are slated for completion, beefing up further the Luzon Spine Expressway Network. These will include the NLEX-SLEX Connector Road, which will extend the NLEX southward from the end of Segment 10 in C3 Road, Caloocan City to PUP Sta. Mesa, Manila and connecting to the Skyway Stage 3, and the C-5 South Link Expressway, a 7.7-km, six-lane expressway from R-1 Expressway to SLEX/C5 that will cut travel time to 10 minutes from 40 minutes.
Also set to be finished by 2022 are the Southeast Metro Manila Expressway C-6 (Phase I), Cavite-Laguna Expressway, and the South Luzon Expressway-Toll Road 4 (TR-4) Project.
Aside from these projects, the Luzon Spine Expressway Network program will also see additional projects completed even beyond the current administration.
These include the TPLEX Extension (Rosario to San Juan, La Union Section), North Eastern Luzon Expressway, Central Luzon Link Expressway Phase II (Cabanatuan to San Jose, Nueva Ecija), North Luzon East Expressway (La Mesa Parkways Project), North Luzon Expressway East, C3 Missing Link Project (Southern Segment), Cavite-Tagaytay-Batangas Expressway, Quezon-Bicol Expressway, and Camarines Sur Expressway.
The Camarines Sur Expressway has already started construction and is 13-percent complete to date, while the others are in various stages of development such as requiring government approval, feasibility studies, and right-of-way acquisition.