Toll-Free TPLEX Section Opens to Motorists in Time for Holidays
The 4-kilometer Sison-Rosario segment of the Tarlac–Pangasinan–La Union Expressway (TPLEX), has just been temporarily opened to motorists, translating to faster travel time for those planning to spend their Christmas in Baguio.
What’s more, the segment is completely toll-free, but the goodwill only extends for as long as the section remains open for the holidays.
The section will be closed once more after the Christmas rush to give way for the completion of the project.
As the section is yet unfinished, only light vehicles are allowed to traverse the section. Trucks and other heavy equipment will have to use the highway.
The newly opened section, which runs parallel to the current highway, is expected to reduce travel to the North’s foremost vacation spot by 30 to 40 minutes.
Project backer San Miguel Corporation (SMC) revealed that right-of-way issues hampered the Sison-Rosario segment’s early completion, but with the finishing touches almost done, the Filipino conglomerate expects it to be fully operational by February of next year.
As for the TPLEX project’s entirety, SMC plans to extend the expressway to San Fernando and San Juan in the province of La Union.
The extensions will be broken off into three segments, namely:
|Segment 1||Rosario to Tubao||18 kms.|
|Segment 2||Tubao to Naguilian||23 kms.|
|Segment 3||Naguilian to San Juan||18.4 kms.|
TPLEX follows a route that runs parallel to the MacArthur Highway from Tarlac City in Tarlac to Pozorrubio in Pangasinan. The expressway consists of four lanes total, broken down to two lanes per direction and Jersey barriers separating them. As for the expressway’s designation under the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Route Numbering System, it is identified as part of Expressway 1 (E1).
Three local banks took charge of financing TPLEX project, these are: BDO Unibank (BDO), Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), and Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP). This made TPLEX “the first Public-Private Partnership project in the Philippines to feature an all-domestic cast of sponsors and lenders.”
The project’s construction uses the build–operate–transfer (BOT) scheme in which the project backers are responsible for the expressway’s design, financing, and construction. Backers are then granted franchise to operate and maintain the toll road, despite ownership of the project being turned over to the government upon completion.