Gov’t seeks investors in Quezon-Bicol expressway
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is moving forward with a massive road project connecting two key provinces south of Metro Manila via a 180-kilometer expressway.
Alex Bote, head of the DPWH’s Public-Private Partnership service, said the Quezon-Bicol Expressway would be pursued through the PPP scheme. The project will start at Pagbilao, Quezon and will end in San Fernando, Camarines Sur.
“We’re procuring a consultant for the feasibility study,” Bote said in an interview.
He said the objective was to have the project completed before President Duterte’s term ends in 2022. Thus, the deadline for the feasibility study, which typically takes a year or more, was compressed to nine months, he said.
He said the DPWH hoped to award the contract to the winning consultant within 2017.
Unlike other PPPs being pursued under Mr. Duterte’s administration, Bote said the Quezon-Bicol Expressway would be a “regular solicited PPP.”
“It’s not a hybrid,” Bote said, referring to the modified PPP scheme adopted by the current administration wherein government would fund the construction of a project while private sector would be later invited for the operations and maintenance portion.
Previous PPP projects under President Aquino were mainly funded and operated by the private sector.
Bote said the feasibility study would also detail the cost of the Quezon-Bicol Expressway.
Citing its benefits, he said the project would cut travel time between the two provinces to about two to three hours.
The DPWH noted on its website that the project would be classified as a “project of national significance due to its function to connect Quezon and Bicol provinces, which are fast developing provinces of Southern Luzon.”
Furthermore, the project would allow motorists a more direct path and avoid roads that run through the mountainside and other “fragmentary roads.”
“The trade of goods will also prosper not only between Quezon and Bicol but also in the northern part of Luzon because travel time for trucks will be reduced,” the DPWH said.
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