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MPTC finalizing plan for NLEX-Cavitex Port expressway

METRO PACIFIC Tollways Corp. (MPTC) will be studying the viability of the NLEX-Cavitex Port Expressway Link project, which may cost more as construction of a tunnel is needed, an official said.

“We are finalizing the technical study, and we will assess the viability based on the numbers from the technical design,” MPTC Chief Financial Officer Christopher Daniel C. Lizo told BusinessWorld recently.

The 15-kilometer (km) expressway project, which will run from North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) Segment 10 to Manila-Cavite Expressway (CAVITEX), is expected to provide an ideal truck route directly linked to Manila Port Area.

The P92-billion project has three sections: the 5.7-km C3 Road to Anda Circle, the 4.8-km Connection from CAVITEX to Buendia Ave., and the 4.6-km Buendia Ave. to Anda Circle.

“This may take time as there are many challenges because the port expressway project will pass by the US Embassy and Manila Bay,” Mr. Lizo said in a mix of English and Filipino.

“You cannot obstruct the view and there are more security requirements if there’s an embassy,” he added.

He also noted that a tunnel will be needed, which means that the company will also have to set aside a budget for the purchase of a tunnel-boring machine.

“It’s a technical problem. As it gets more complex, it gets more expensive,” Mr. Lizo said.

The project is a joint unsolicited proposal submitted by NLEX Corp. and Cavitex Infrastructure Corp. to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in 2019.

NLEX Corp. said in April that it was awaiting approval from the Toll Regulatory Board for the implementation of the first section of the proposed project.

The NLEX-CAVITEX Port Expressway Link project, once completed, is expected to “stimulate development in Manila, Caloocan, Malabon and Navotas, as well as its surrounding areas,” the DPWH said on its website.

It is also seen to decongest Metro Manila traffic, give trucks a 24/7 alternative route and resolve truck-ban problems, provide better access to Manila ports (North Harbor) and airports (Ninoy Aquino International Airport and Clark airport), and complete the connection of NLEX with South Luzon Expressway (SLEX).

The project is expected to reduce travel time from SLEX to NLEX to just 20 minutes from two hours, reduce travel time from Clark to Calamba to one hour and 40 minutes from approximately three hours, and benefit at least 35,000 motorists or vehicles per day.

NLEX Corp. is part of MPTC., the tollway unit of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC).

MPIC is one of three key Philippine units of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being Philex Mining Corp. and PLDT Inc. Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Arjay L. Balinbin

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