Cavite-Laguna Expressway First Phase to open in December

The first 7 kilometers of the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX) is set to be opened to motorists by end-2018, ahead of the initial target of February 2019

MANILA, Philippines – A portion of the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX) is targeted to begin commercial operations by December 2018, after the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) asked the concessionaire to fast-track the construction.

Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar said on Thursday, February 8, that the first 7 kilometers (km) of CALAX, which runs from the Mamplasan Interchange in Biñan, Laguna to Laguna Boulevard, is seen to be opened to motorists by December 2018, instead of the initial target of February 2019.

MPCALA Holdings Incorporated, a unit of listed Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC), is the winning concessionaire of CALAX, which is a 44.6-kilometer, 4-lane toll road between the Cavite Expressway in Kawit, Cavite and the South Luzon Expressway-Mamplasan Interchange.

"We asked MPIC if we can expedite it to December 2018 so we have a Christmas gift for the motorists. The original target was to open it in February next year, as a Valentine's Day gift. But I said, it is more proper to give it as a Christmas present," Villar told reporters during his office's inspection of the project site in Laguna.

Back in March, MPCALA signed a P7.2-billion agreement with DM Consunji Incorporated (DMCI) for the construction of the 18-km Laguna side of CALAX.

For the Cavite side, MPCALA is hiring Australia's Leighton Holdings in a deal worth P7.3 billion.

On top of the project's P35.42-billion construction cost, MPCALA paid the government a premium bid of P27.3 billion to win the CALAX contract.

MPCALA will operate and maintain CALAX for 35 years. After that, the operations and maintenance of the expressway will be in the government's hands.

"As of now, the government has delivered about 60% right of way for the entire toll road project. The construction for the entire CALAX is targeted to be finished by December 2020," Villar said.

The 44.6-kilometer road project will connect nearby industrial zones to the capital of one of Asia's fastest-growing economies.
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