The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said Friday that two major sections of the P14.94-billion Phase 1 of the Central Luzon Link Expressway (CLLEX) project are now complete.

In a statement, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark A. Villar said the two contract packages that were completed are the 4.1-kilometer Tarlac Section and the 6.4-kilometer Rio Chico River Bridge Section of the project.

“The completed sections form part of the 30-kilometer, four-lane expressway project to connect and improve access between… Tarlac City and Cabanatuan City,” Mr. Villar added.

The department said the two remaining contract packages “will be delivered to full completion by April 2021.”

The remaining contract packages cover the construction of the 9.2-kilometer Aliaga section and the 10.3-kilometer Cabanatuan section.

“An additional 4.8-kilometer component of the expressway project from the junction of Carmen-Cabanatuan Road is the Zaragoza Interchange section, which comprises a 2.8-kilometer access free road and a two-kilometer interchange ramp that will cross over the embankment of CLLEX main expressway by an overpass,” the department said.

“Upon full completion of the entire alignment, CLLEX Phase 1 will cut travel time between Tarlac City and Cabanatuan City from 70 minutes to just 20 minutes,” it added.

It also said more than 11,000 motorists and commuters are expected to use CLLEX daily. The project is expected to ease traffic on the Maharlika Highway by 48%, ity added.

The P12.61-billion second phase of CLLEX is a 35.7-kilometer extension of the first phase, connecting Nueva Ecija’s Cabanatuan City and San Jose City. — Arjay L. Balinbin