THE Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Board will “most likely” approve by first quarter of 2020 the unsolicited proposal of San Miguel Corp. (SMC) to extend the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx).

Wino-workout lang. Nasa NEDA na ‘yun. (It’s being worked out at NEDA level) I think soon we should come out (with the approval)… hopefully first quarter next year… Most likely, first quarter next year. Public Works Secretary Mark A. Villar told reporters Sunday in Alabang when asked for an update regarding the proposed project.

Mr. Villar’s department granted in December 2018 original proponent status to SMC following its unsolicited proposal to extend TPLEx.

According to the official website of the DPWH, the proposed project was endorsed to the NEDA’s Investment Coordination Committee in August.

SMC submitted its P23.948-billion unsolicited proposal to the DPWH in February to extend TPLEx from Rosario, La Union to San Juan, La Union.

The 59.4-kilometer extension includes three segments: 18 kilometers from Rosario to Tubao, 23 kilometers from Tubao to Naguilian, and 18.4 kilometers from Naguilian to San Juan.

SMC is also in charge of the original 89.31-kilometer alignment of the TPLEx, which runs from Tarlac City to Rosario, La Union. — Arjay L. Balinbin