MPIC starting Calax ahead of schedule
Infrastructure giant Metro Pacific Investments Corp. plans to start construction of the 45.5-kilometer Cavite Laguna Expressway ahead of schedule.
According to an indicative timeline from Metro Pacific, the group plans to start building the toll road in the first quarter of 2017 for completion by the end of 2018. Under the original schedule, construction would have started July 2017, with completion by the end of June 2019.
There were still certain “post-construction” activities that were slated. That meant the toll road’s start of operations would be on Jan. 1, 2020, six months ahead of the original schedule of July 31.
The project, also called the Calax, was among the public-private partnership deals auctioned off under the Aquino administration. It was bagged by Metro Pacific unit MPCala Holdings in 2015.
The toll road aims to provide another link between Metro Manila and progressive provinces south of the capital district.
MPCala Holdings was awarded the project last month after its offer of P27.3 billion edged out sole rival San Miguel Corp., which offered P22.2 billion.
Both companies offered premium bids, meaning these come on top of the toll road’s estimated cost of P35.4 billion. The government had set at P20.1 billion floor premium bid for Calax for the second round of bidding held after the first round failed.
The Calax auction process was marked by high drama during its initial bidding round in 2014, when SMC was disqualified due to a typographical error. That disqualification was later reversed by President Aquino, who also ordered the rebid that took place in 2015.
Metro Pacific subsidiary Metro Pacific Tollways operates the 14-km Cavite Expressway in southern Metro Manila apart from the 94-km North Luzon Expressway and 94-km Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx).
It is also seeking to build an elevated connector road cutting through Metro Manila that would link NLEx to SMC’s South Luzon Expressway.
The Calax will be four-lane expressway that starts at the Cavitex toll gate in Kawit, Cavite, and ends at the SLEx-Mamplasan Interchange in Biñan, Laguna.
Tollways remained a significant contributor to the bottom line of Metro Pacific, which is involved in power and water distribution, railways and hospital operations.
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