THE DEPARTMENT of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said it is looking to give San Miguel Corp. (SMC) by next month the original proponent status (OPS) for its proposal to extend the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx).
“Sa TPLEx malapit na kami magbigay ng OPS…. Maximum siguro is next month [We’re giving the OPS to TPLEx soon…. Maybe the maximum is next month],” DPWH Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Director Alex G. Bote told reporters on Thursday.
In February, SMC submitted to the government a P23.948-billion unsolicited proposal to build a 59.4-kilometer toll road extending the TPLEx from Rosario, La Union to San Juan, La Union.
The extension has three sections, namely Rosario to Tubao, Tubao to Naguilian, then Naguilian to San Juan.
DPWH Build, Build, Build Committee Chairperson Anna Mae Y. Lamentillo told reporters on Friday that while the proposal for the extension is still under review, they are positive the third phase of the original alignment of TPLEx will be completed by 2019.
“We’re confident that we would be able to finish or to open the entire alignment by next year,” she said.
The original alignment of the 89.31-kilometer TPLEx is divided into three segments: the stretch from Tarlac City to Rosales, Pangasinan; then from there to Urdaneta City, Pangasinan; then from there to Rosario, La Union.
Right of way acquisition and construction of a portion of the third section is on-going. The third section, which stretches from Pozorrubio in Pangasinan to Rosario in La Union, is scheduled to open in June 2019.
SMC is also the government’s private concessionaire for the TPLEx project. — Denise A. Valdez