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DPWH receives road master plan from Japan covering 9,000 km of ‘high-standard highways’

PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

THE Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said Tuesday that it recently received from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) an updated road master plan that involves the development of 9,000 kilometers (km) of “high-standard highways” in the Philippines.

The new master plan updates the Phase 1 road master plan for 2010, which focused on areas within a 200-km radius of Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, and Metro Davao.

JICA officially turned over the “High Standard Highways (HSH) Network Development Master Plan – Phase 2” to the DPWH on Nov. 29, according to the department. The new master plan expands the coverage outside highly urbanized areas.

The new road master plan is “crucial not just in decongesting highly urbanized areas but also in achieving the 2040 National Development Plan of making the Philippines a prosperous country by investing in high quality infrastructure,” Acting Public Works Secretary Roger G. Mercado said in a statement.

On its website, JICA said it signed a partnership deal with the DPWH on the second phase of the road master plan in September 2017. The goal is to “ease traffic congestion along national roads, and boost investment and jobs creation in the regions.”

“The project, a follow-up to the previous master plan conducted in 2010, will cover the entire Philippines and identify infrastructure projects that can be implemented until 2040,” it added.

JICA defines high-standard highways as “highways that provide high level of traffic services assuring high-speed mobility and safe travel to support economic activities in strategic regions and the country as a whole.”

According to the department, the master plan proposes the construction of 4,400 km of HSH Class 1 roads, including upgrades to 406 km of existing roads, 265 km of roads under construction, and 3,279 km of new roads along major transport corridors.

“About 4,600 km of HSH Class-2 (regional high-standard highway) will branch off from the HSH Class-1 to provide connection to sub-regional centers, important ports and airports not covered by HSH Class-1,” the DPWH said.

JICA’s development assistance also covers the pre-feasibility study of four projects: the Agusan Del Norte – Butuan City Logistical Highway in Region XIII; the Cebu Circumferential Road in Region VII; the Central Mindanao Highway, Cagayan de Oro-Malaybalay Section in Region X; and the second San Juanico Bridge in Region VIII.

The Ninoy Aquino International Airport Expressway, Central Luzon Link Expressway, and Cavite-Laguna Expressway were among the projects implemented under the master plan’s first phase, according to JICA, through public-private partnerships and official development assistance. — Arjay L. Balinbin

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