TOLL road operator NLEX Corp. said it is hoping to obtain this year original proponent status (OPS) to build a toll road connecting the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) to the Manila-Cavite Expressway (CavitEx). Luigi L. Bautista, president and general manager of NLEX Corp., said the company submitted the unsolicited proposal to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) last year.

“We call it the Port Link Expressway. It will start from R10 (section of NLEx Harbor Link Segment 10) all the way to the south. It will connect to Cavite Expressway,” Mr. Bautista told reporters on Feb. 21.

“The project cost is not yet final. But based on our estimate, it’s about P95 to P100 billion. It’s a huge project,” he added.

Asked if the company is hoping to be granted OPS for the project this year, Mr. Bautista said: “Yes. If it will be approved, the intention of the NLEX Corp. is to be able to build it in phases because the extent of the project is really big. You cannot construct it in one go because of the huge capital expense.”

Public Works Secretary Mark A. Villar said his department is currently evaluating the proposal.

“They are proposing it, so we are in the process of evaluating for OPS,” Mr. Villar said.

NLEX Corp. is expecting this year’s traffic volume at NLEx and Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressways (SCTEx), which are interconnected, to grow 7%.

Mr. Bautista said the daily traffic volume in 2019 at NLEx-SCTEx was 340,000 vehicles.

The company said in August that it was investing P7.7 billion on road enhancements to help ease congestion in Metro Manila and key cities outside the capital.

The company launched several road development projects last year to build interchanges, bridges and new lanes in its toll road network.

Among those projects are the 2.6-kilometer extension of the NLEx Harbor Link Segment 10 from C3 in Caloocan City to R10 in Navotas City; capacity expansion at the Subic Freeport Expressway, which covers the construction of new lanes and bridges; and road extensions at the Bulacan portion of NLEx.

The Malabon Exit, which is part of the 2.6-kilometer C3-R10 Section of the NLEx Harbor Link Segment 10, was officially opened on Feb. 21.

NLEX said about 20,000 motorists are expected to benefit from the Malabon Exit.

The section of C3-R10 from Caloocan City to Radial Road 10 (R10) in Navotas City will be opened to motorists this month. It will connect to the NLEx Harbor Link Segment 10.

The 5.65-kilometer NLEx Harbor Link Segment 10 is an elevated toll road that traverses Karuhatan, Valenzuela City, Governor Pascual Avenue in Malabon City, and 5th Avenue/C3 Road, Caloocan City. — Arjay L. Balinbin