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Right-of-way issues increase MPTC costs

THE toll development arm of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) said delays in the completion of its Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX) project added 15% to its total cost.

According to Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) Chief Financial Officer Christopher Daniel C. Lizo, the CALAX project was supposed to be completed by July 2020 under the concession agreement.

However, the agreement also states that the right of way should have been completed by July 2017.

“Roughly mga 10% to 15% higher ang project costs from the total costs (Roughly, project costs were 10% to 15% higher from the total costs),” Mr. Lizo said during the project update and drive through of CALAX subsection 4.

Data from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) show that the total cost of the CALAX project is around P35.74 billion.

According to Wilson G. Bontigao, construction manager of Metro Pacific Tollways South Management Corp., if the complete right of way along subsection 4 of CALAX were acquired, the project is expected to be completed within three months.

On the Laguna side of the expressway, the company already acquired 99.8% of the needed right of way, while on the Cavite side, the figure is only 64.20%. The delay in right-of-way acquisitions led to more costs for the company as it needed to find new routes to construct portions of the project.

Subsection 4 of CALAX is said to ease traffic on Aguinaldo Highway. To complete the project, MPCALA Holdings, Inc. (MHI), which is a subsidiary of MPTC, needs to secure the right of way from two portions of land that subsection 4 will traverse.

Subsection 4 or the Silang (Aguinaldo) Interchange is a 3.9-kilometer expressway from Silang East Interchange to Aguinaldo Highway in Cavite.

Average daily traffic from Mamplasan to Silang East Interchange is at 33,000 and is expected to increase to 40,000 once subsection 4 opens.

“It will ease traffic congestion in the 41-kilometer Aguinaldo Highway, the busiest main thoroughfare in Cavite,” MHI President Raul L. Ignacio said in a press release.

The interchange is also seen to be an alternative way out of CALAX for motorists coming from Metro Manila to Tagaytay City.

At present, the operation segment of CALAX spans 14.24 kilometers. Its interchanges are located at Greenfield-Mamplasan, Laguna Technopark, Laguna Boulevard, Santa Rosa-Tagaytay, and Silang East.

Once MHI and the DPWH’s CALAX project tops off, it will be connected to the Manila-Cavite Expressway in Kawit, Cavite.

MPTC is the tollways unit of MPIC, 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. — Justine Irish D. Tabile

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