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Swiss challenge for NLEX-SLEX link to be rolled out in Q4

The government has pushed back the timetable for companies to submit counteroffers for the P18-billion proposal of Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC) to link the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and South Luzon Expressway (SLEX).

In a statement, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio L. Singson said: “We are looking at October or November as the date for the actual rollout of the Swiss challenge for the NLEX-SLEX connector road.”

Earlier, DPWH Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Service officer-in-charge and director said they hoped to publish the invitation to bid for the project in June, as soon as the DPWH sorts out some terms with the MNTC, the tollways unit of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) and operator of NLEX. It has long been seeking to link the expressway to the southern corridor exiting Metro Manila.

According to Mr. Singson, they’re just finalizing the contract terms with the original proponent MNTC.

“The finalized terms will be under Swiss challenge. The details of engineering design are still being developed,” he said.

In February, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board ruled that the contract should be auctioned off via Swiss challenge--the course the government takes when dealing with unsolicited proposals, which requires an invitation to make competing offers while giving the original proponent the right to match.

MPTC President Ramoncito S. Fernandez said in March that they were ready for the Swiss challenge.

“We are just waiting for the government to invite proponents. We’ll fight for it,” he said.

In 2010, the MNTC submitted an unsolicited proposal for the connector road. January 21 last year, it signed a joint venture agreement with state-run Philippine National Construction Corp.--the holder of the NLEX franchise--to build that road.

The proposal of the MNTC then re-entered the NEDA review process.

The original unsolicited proposal involved a 13.5-kilometer elevated road that will connect North and South Luzon expressways, including a five-kilometer common alignment from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) to Buendia Avenue in Makati City.

Citra Metro Manila Tollways Corp. which is also pursuing its own proposed connector road project with San Miguel Corp., has obtained financing for the common alignment portion of the road. The San Miguel group’s P26.5-billion Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 project is a six-lane 14.8-kilometer expressway, from Buendia Avenue in Makati City to Balintawak in Quezon City, connecting the SLEX to NLEX.

In September 2013, the government approved the contract for the Skyway Stage 3.



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