SMC getting upper hand in bid to extend TPLEx to surfing capital
Conglomerate San Miguel Corp.’s (SMC) proposal to extend its Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx) to San Juan, La Union, considered the surfing capital in the north, is poised to move forward.
Alex Bote, who heads the public-private partnership service of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), said last week they would soon grant SMC a coveted original proponent status (OPS) for its TPLEx extension project, an unsolicited offer.
“We’re almost ready to award the OPS,” Bote said last week. He said this would be granted no later than September this year.
An OPS gives a company a big advantage during a Swiss challenge, a type of bidding process that allows rival firms to submit better offers. Should a superior offer emerge, the original proponent will have the right to match those terms and win the project.
After the granting of an OPS, the project would still need the final nod of the board of the National Economic and Development Authority.
The TPLEx extension, submitted by SMC subsidiary San Miguel Holdings Corp. on Feb. 14, 2018, is a proposed 59.4-kilometer toll road with four lanes. It will start from the final exit of the TPLEx in Rosario, La Union, and will run through San Juan.
The project is estimated to cost around P24 billion and will be divided into three phases.
According to the DPWH, the TPLEx extension will promote the development of Northern Luzon and will improve access between Central Luzon and Metro Manila.
The original TPLEx, which began construction in 2010, is an 88.85-km toll road that aims to link Tarlac City and Rosario. The final Pozorrubio, Pangasinan, to Rosario section is slated for completion in June 2019, information posted on the DPWH’s website showed.
The TPLEx extension would be the second unsolicited offer granted an OPS by the DPWH under President Duterte.
On July 26, a unit of Manuel V. Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investments Corp. won an OPS for its offer to build the 50.4-km Cavite-Tagaytay-Batangas Expressway (CTBEx).
The P22-billion CTBEx, which is expected to start construction by 2020 and will be completed in two years, will be linked to Metro Pacific’s Cavite-Laguna Expressway, which is under construction, and its Cavite Expressway.
SMC and Metro Pacific are the country’s two leading toll road operators.
SMC also operates the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx), Metro Manila Skyway, Southern Tagalog Arterial Road Tollway and Naia Expressway. Metro Pacific’s other toll road projects include North Luzon Expressway (NLEx), Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway and the Cebu Cordova Link Expressway.
Both companies are also building their respective connector road projects that would link NLEx and SLEx.
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