MPIC unit signs 37-year contract to operate SLEX-NLEX link
The concession contract for a second Metro Manila “connector road” was signed late Wednesday, allowing the long-delayed North Luzon Expressway (NLEx)-South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) tollroad link to move forward.
Manuel V. Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investments Corp., through unit Manila North Tollways Corp., said it already signed the 37-year contract with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
The P23.2-billion project involves an 8-kilometer elevated toll expressway mainly utilizing the right-of-way of the Philippine National Railways. It starts at the junction of the NLEx Segment 10 at C-3 Road/5th Avenue in Caloocan City and will “seamlessly” connect to the SLEx through the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 Project in Manila.
The Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3, controlled by San Miguel Corp., is another “connector road” that will also link the northern and southern parts of the capital district.
Metro Pacific said its project would be funded through a combination of debt and internal cash. According to the DPWH, the actual construction cost stood at P15.74 billion, while some P7.56 billion was via government support.
Based on the DPWH’s timeline, the tollroad, which was first proposed under the Arroyo administration, would be finished by September 2020.
The project suffered numerous delays throughout the previous Aquino administration, mainly on government agencies failing to agree on its implementation structure.
According to the DPWH, a total of 10 months was needed for detailed engineering design, and another 30 months for the acquisition of the right-of-way. The opening toll fee was earlier pegged at P87.
The DPWH also cited big benefits in terms of cutting road congestion.
With this connector road, it said travel time between SLEx and NLEx would be cut to 20 minutes from over two hours. Trips from Clark in Pampanga to Calamba, Laguna would be slashed to one hour and forty minutes, from over three hours at present.
Metro Pacific won the project following a so-called competitive challenge that was completed last July. Its unit, Metro Pacific Tollways Development Corp., emerged as the winner after no rival group submitted an offer.
At least seven groups expressed interest in the project. These included conglomerate San Miguel Corp., Spain’s Obrascón Huarte Lain, S.A., Hunan Road and Bridge Corp. and four law companies representing undisclosed clients.
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