TPLEX opens in June, cuts travel time by one hour
By Yolanda Sotelo
ROSALES – The Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) up to Rosales, Pangasinan, is expected to be completed in May 2013 but may operate a month or two later, a project consultant said.
Engineer Johnson Villar, project engineer of the North Luzon Road Link Corporation, a consultant of the Department of Public Works and Highways, said some parts of the expressway in Tarlac are being asphalted but in Pangasinan side, these are mostly undergoing aggregate base course.
“But with the good weather condition, we are optimistic that the project would meet the May 2013 deadline,” he said in a telephone interview.
As to payment of right of way, he said the DPWH has given the assurance that there is budget for the payment, but some landowners traversed by the expressway were not paid yet because of some documentation issues.
Some properties were still in the name of original owners who have died, and the descendants still have to prepare documents like titles, which are required for the DPWH to issue payments, he said.
The TPLEX, built under the Build-Operate-Transfer scheme, is being constructed by Private Infra Dev Corporation.
Mayor Ricardo Revita said once operational, the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway will cut travel time from this town to Balintawak, Metro-Manila from an average of three hours to about one hour and forty five minutes.
“The new road is expected to spur economy wherever it traverses, as it would help expedite movement of goods and people. It would also mean new establishments to be put up there,” Revita said.
But the TPLEX is expected to create heavy vehicular traffic at downtown Rosales and at the Carmen interchange along McArthur Highway, if the original plan for the interchange will be followed.
With the original plan, vehicles from Nueva Ecija and provinces from the Cordillera Region and Region II would pass through the Rosales town proper while those coming from central Pangasinan and Region II, including Baguio City, will pass through the Carmen-Tomana Road to reach the TPLEX interchange in barangay Tomana.
“Whatever advantages the TPLEX would bring would be negated by the heavy traffic it will create along McArthur Highway and the downtown area, which are now both dealing with traffic problems,” he said.
The local government of Rosales has earlier proposed that the interchange in Rosales would be established between McArthur Highway and the Cabanatuan road, around two kilometers away from the original plan.
With the proposed plan, the access road would be located a kilometer before the SM City Rosales (northward) which is also dealing with traffic problems.
“The interchange would be 2.2 kilometer away from McARthur Highway and 3.5 kilometer away from the Cabanatuan road. Thus traffic would be minimized at the McArthur Highway at downtown Rosales,” Revita explained.
The mayor said while the circumferential road in the proposed interchange is being undertaken, there are no right of way yet in the access roads.
“I wonder why the TPLEX management is saying that it would be completed by May, when there are no right of way yet in the proposed interchange. Acquiring right of way is a long process,” he said.
Revita added that if the interchange would be in Tomana, “it would be better that there will no more interchange in the town because of the monstrous traffic.”
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