MANILA, Philippines – The tollways arm of infrastructure giant Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC) is set to revise the alignment of the proposed toll road connecting the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) due to the P171-billion ($3.82 billion) North-South rail project.
Rodrigo Franco, president of MPIC’s Manila North Tollways Corporation, said the revision of the alignment of the proposed NLEX-SLEX connector road would escalate the cost by at least 30%.
“We will now have to revise our design to accommodate the construction of the North-South rail project. The cost will really increase,” Franco said.
Under the original proposal, the 13-kilometer NLEX-SLEX connector road would cost about P18 billion ($401.92 million).
The proposed NLEX-SLEX connector road and the North-South rail project being undertaken by the Department of Transportation and Communications under the public-private partnership (PPP) scheme are set to use the right-of-way of the state-run Philippine National Railways.
“Both projects could be side by side, but other parts the connector road might have to go above the North-South rail project,” Franco explained.
The proposed 653-kilometer North-South rail project South Line PPP covers Metro Manila to Legazpi City, Albay. It would have a commuter railway operations between Tutuban in Manila and Calamba in Laguna. It would also have long-haul railway operations between Tutuban and Legazpi, including extended long-haul rail operations on the branch line between Calamba and Batangas and the extension between Legazpi and Matnog, Sorsogon.
The railway between the existing Tutuban station and the city of Calamba stretching 56 kilometers would have commuter rail operations in addition to long-haul rail operations of the North-South rail project.
Meanwhile, construction of the NLEX-SLEX connector road should have started 3 years ago.
The NEDA–Investment Coordination Committee has approved reverting the major road project to the original proponent status instead of a joint venture with state-run Philippine National Construction Corporation.
After delays, it looks like the completion of the toll road is happening by 2017. But the aligment revision could cause further delays to the project, which remains to be seen. – Rappler.com