MPTC plans to submit proposal for NLEx extension to Bataan

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THE extension of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) to Bataan, also called Phase 3 of the north toll road project, is seen to move forward this year with the planned submission of a proposal to the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB).

Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) President Rodrigo E. Franco said the company wants to submit by second half the proposal to build more than 40 kilometers of toll road extending NLEx from San Fernando to Dinalupihan, Bataan.

“We’re studying it whether it’s timely na to pursue the construction of that project… We still have to submit a proposal to TRB. We’re hoping second half of the year, we will submit the proposal to TRB,” Mr. Franco told reporters last week.

The Phase 3 extension to Bataan is an inter-urban expressway that is part of the concession awarded to MPTC unit NLEX Corp. Mr. Franco said the project will cost “certainly more than P20 billion,” but the studies are still ongoing.

He added the company sees the project as timely, given the rapid increase in economic activities in Pampanga.

“You see that San Fernando, that Angeles area, it’s rich in urban streets eh. You may want to bypass that area already if you’re going to Bataan,” he said.

He added toll road projects outside Metro Manila are starting to gain bigger attention from MPTC as projects in the central city come with more issues because of the difficulty in constructing in crowded spaces.

“The tollways kasi, what you will notice is if it’s a project in Metro Manila, that involves a lot more complexity…. So typically, processes for Metro Manila projects take a little bit longer. So it really involves a lot more complication,” Mr. Franco said.

“We want to look at both inner city and also inter-urban. Even in NLEx, we have uncompleted segments that we want to pursue,” he added, pointing out the plans for NLEx Phase 3.

While the company intends to submit the proposal for NLEx Phase 3 by the second half, Mr. Franco said the construction may take more time.

“Right of way, as you know, needs to be acquired. So if you are talking about 40 kilometers, medyo mahaba ’yun [that’s quite long],” Mr. Franco said. “That’s why you need a long lead time for you to make the preparatory works before you can start construction of a project.”

MPTC is the tollways unit of Metro Pacific Investments Corp., one of three key Philippine units of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being Philex Mining Corp. and PLDT, Inc.

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