The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is asking MPCALA Holdings Incorporated to fast-track construction of the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX), hoping to begin commercial operations by December 2018.
Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar said on February 8 that the first 7 kilometers of CALAX, which runs from the Mamplasan Interchange in Biñan, Laguna to Laguna Boulevard, should be opened to motorists by December 2018, instead of the initial target of February 2019.
MPCALA, a unit of 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 motorists. The original target was to open it in February next year, as 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 2017, 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 turned over to government.
“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.