Completion of the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX) subsection, which connects the tollway to Silang, Cavite, has been delayed due to right-of-way issues, developer and operator MPCALA Holdings Inc. (MHI) said.
“The target date for the opening of the Silang (Aguinaldo) Interchange has been pushed back several times, with the last projected completion of December 2022 again uncertain,” Raul Ignacio, president of MHI, said in a statement Tuesday.
Ignacio cited right-of-way problems as the reason for the slow progress of continuous works, such as the construction of drainage and bridge works, excavation and road earthworks, and the installation of fences and coconut netting.
Nonetheless, he said the company “still aims to complete the road in time for the Christmas rush to Tagaytay.”
The Silang (Aguinaldo) Interchange is the fifth of the eight segments of the 45-kilometer CALAX.
It is a 3.9 km, 2×2 lane expressway from the Silang East Interchange to the Aguinaldo Highway in Cavite.
To date, 64% of this section of the CALAX Expressway has been completed.
After completion, the section will serve more motorists due to the reduced traffic situation. Currently, the average daily traffic is 33,000 from Mamplasan to Silang East Interchange.
This number is expected to increase to 40,000 once the Silang (Aguinaldo) Interchange opens.
“It will relieve congestion on the 41-kilometer Aguinaldo Highway — the busiest major thoroughfare in Cavite,” Ignacio said.
The project aims to provide efficient transportation options for the Cavite and Laguna economic zones. This is because, next to the Santa Rosa-Tagaytay Road Interchange, the Silang (Aguinaldo) Interchange will be a convenient alternative way to exit CALAX for motorists coming from Metro Manila heading to Tagaytay City once it is operational, so Ignacio.
“So you will benefit a lot from this upcoming project as travel time will be reduced,” Ignacio said, noting that the commute time is estimated to be only about 20 minutes since the highway connection is 16 kilometers from the actual town of Tagaytay via the Aguinaldo Highway is.
Christopher Lizo, Chief Finance Officer of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC), for its part, said the entire CALAX project should have been completed in July 2020.
“Technically, we are 2.5 years late. Because of the right of way, five years late.”
“If there’s a way to go ahead and if there’s a consistent right-of-way, we’ll keep building,” he added.
Despite the delays, Lizo said the company expects to complete the entire CALAX by December next year.
Currently, CALAX’s operating segment spans 14.24 kilometers with interchanges at Greenfield-Mamplasan, Laguna Technopark, Laguna Boulevard, Santa Rosa-Tagaytay and Silang East. Other CALAX interchanges, namely Open Canal, Governor’s Drive and Kawit, are scheduled to be completed by 2023. Upon completion of the entire DPWH and MHI public-private partnership (PPP) project, it will connect to the Manila-Cavite Expressway (CAVITEX) in Kawit, Cavite.
In addition to CALAX and CAVITEX, MHI’s parent company, MPTC, the country’s largest toll road developer and operator, also has concession rights to the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), NLEX Connector Road, Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) and Cebu- Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) in Cebu. —KBK, GMA Integrated News