By Denise A. Valdez, Reporter
A METRO PACIFIC Tollways Corp. (MPTC) unit on Wednesday broke ground for the Cavite segment of the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX).
“Ngayon ay pinagdiriwang natin ang pagsisimula ng construction ng Cavite segment ng Cavite-Laguna Expressway [Today we celebrate the start of construction of the Cavite segment of the Cavite-Laguna Expressway],” MPTC President Rodrigo E. Franco said during a ceremony in Imus, Cavite yesterday.
“In (three) years time, we hope the province of Cavite will have a brand-new expressway that will connect to the existing CAVITEx (Manila-Cavite Expressway), which is also operated by the Metro Pacific group,” he added.
The P35.43-billion CALAX is a project of MPCALA Holdings, Inc. which aims to build a 45.3-kilometer link between CAVITEx and the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx).
It is divided into two sections: the 27.2-kilometer Cavite section which just broke ground, and the 18.1-kilometer Laguna section which is already being built.
“The Laguna section of the CALAX project is also under construction, and we expect to open the first sections of the Laguna section sometime by the third quarter, as early as July of this year,” Mr. Franco said.
The whole CALAX alignment is scheduled for completion in 2022. By then, it is expected to accommodate 50,000 cars and reduce travel time from CAVITEx to SLEx to below 45 minutes from the current 2.5 hours.
“Nagmamadali na po kami dahil kailangan matapos lahat ng [We’re rushing because we need to finish all] projects by 2022, before the end of the term of President Duterte. We will deliver on our promise, not just to solve traffic, but to bring development to our provinces,” Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark A. Villar said.
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. Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls.