Partial operation of CALAX targeted by July

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By Denise A. Valdez

A UNIT OF Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) is targeting to open a portion of the Laguna section of the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX) by the third quarter, and is hoping to start the construction of the Cavite section in a few weeks.

MPCALA Holdings Inc., the private concessionaire for the project that will link the Manila-Cavite Expressway (CAVITEx) to the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx), said they plan to start partial operations of the toll road before July ends.

“The first 10 kilometers…from Mamplasan up to Santa Rosa Tagaytay Road…, we are targeting to open by July this year,” MPCALA Holdings President Roberto V. Bontia said in a text message on Sunday.

When asked for the company’s timetable for the Cavite section, he said the start of construction is expected “either last week of March or first week April.”

“Our right-of-way team said we only need 3 more PTEs (permit to enter) in subsection 3 of the Cavite side of CALAX for us to ground break,” Mr. Bontia added.

The P35.43-billion CALAX is a 45.29-kilometer expressway that aims to reduce travel time between CAVITEx and SLEx to 45 minutes from the current 90 minutes. The concession agreement between the government and MPCALA Holdings indicates a toll fee of P4.50 per kilometer, or P45 for the first 10 kilometers that will open on the Laguna segment.

In a Feb. 28 chance interview, Mr. Bontia told reporters that for the Cavite segment, the first seven kilometers from Governor’s Drive Interchange to Silang (Aguinaldo) Interchange is where they will begin construction.

“Section 3, ’yung first seven kilometers noon [the first seven kilometers], that’s what we’re going to start construction by March. Hopefully by the time na matapos ’yung seven kilometers na ’yun, ’yung Sections 2 and 1 nung Cavite, ang target ng right-of-way team is to deliver that by June. [Hopefully by the time we finish the seven kilometers, we could start with Sections 2 and 1. The right-of-way team targets to deliver it by June],” he said.

The whole CALAX alignment from Kawit, Cavite to Biñan, Laguna is expected to be completed by 2021.

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.