The final section of the Tarlac Pangasinan La Union Expressway (TPLEX) on Wednesday formally opened to the public that would cut travel time by half from Metro Manila to Baguio City, according to San Miguel Corp.
San Miguel said the opening of the final 11-kilometer segment of the TPLEX, which will further reduce travel time from Tarlac to Rosario to just one hour from three-and-a-half hours, and Metro Manila-to-Baguio from six hours to just three-and-a-half hours.
“In the face of a global pandemic that has also greatly affected our economy and the livelihoods of many Filipinos, we at San Miguel Corporation remain committed to continuing our investments in growth-generating and job-creating projects that will help build the resilience of our people,” said Ramon S. Ang, president of SMC, parent company of SMC Infrastructure which built and operates the TPLEX.
Ang said that the completion of TPLEX, along with its commitment to continue investments on major infrastructure projects, are SMC’s contribution to boost the economy.
“The economy ground to a halt because of the pandemic, and among the most affected were our farmers as well as small businesses such as restaurants, hotels, stores, that also rely on tourism. By not scaling back on investments in infrastructure, we will be able to create more jobs, keep the flow of goods and services moving, and pave the way for more local tourism for the long-term,” he added.
San Miguel-led Private Infra Dev Corp. holds the concession for TPLEX, an 88.85-km, four-lane, high-speed toll road that connects Northern Luzon to Manila. It is designed to integrate with other major toll roads such as North Luzon Expressway and Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway.
In total, the TPLEX now has ten interchanges and 11 toll plazas, namely: Tarlac City, Victoria, Pura, Ramos, Anao, in Tarlac; Carmen, Urdaneta, Binalonan, Pozorrubio, Sison in Pangasinan, and Rosario, La Union. The Sison, Pangasinan exit was added to the original alignment to help locals, and is currently being completed.
Earlier, SMC also received original proponent status for its proposal to extend the TPLEX from Rosario, La Union to San Juan, La Union, whose beaches have become a hot spot for local tourism. The proposed four-lane extension project will cover some 59 kilometers.
“Our next goal now is to extend TPLEX all the way to San Juan. We look forward to the continued support of our national and local governments for this project, which will bring even more growth to the region,” Ang said.
Aside from the Pozzurubio-Rosario TPLEX section, the completion of a new unit of Masinloc Power Plant, Skyway 3, Skyway Extension, Skyway 4, and MRT-7 are also in the pipeline.
SMC has also said it is pushing through with its plan to build the P735-billion Manila International Airport (MIA) project in Bulakan, Bulacan.