The Central Luzon Link Expressway (CLLEX) may not be awarded before the end of President Benigno S. Aquino III’s term as its components are still yet to be rolled out.
In a statement, Department of Public Works and Highways’ (DPWH) Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Service officer-in-charge and director Ariel C. Angeles said: “The implementation of CLLEX is still ongoing under JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency). After that’s completed, it will be turned over to us.”
The first phase of the CLLEX project involves the P15-billion construction of a 30.7-kilometer four-lane expressway from Tarlac City to Cabanatuan. Its construction is funded via a JICA inter-governmental loan agreement, while the operation and maintenance component will be offered as a PPP program.
The first phase will have an extension which will be divided into three phases---all of which will also be done through the PPP.
The second phase will link Cabanatuan to San Jose City in Nueva Ecija. It will run for 35.7 kilometers and will also be four lanes wide, providing an alternative route for travelers along the Pan Philippine Highway between Nueva Ecija and Plaridel, Bulacan.
The cost of the project has not yet been determined. The draft terms of reference was already forwarded to JICA for review and comment last March 13.
Meanwhile, details of the third and fourth phases have yet to be firmed up.
According to Mr. Angeles, they are still preparing for the request for proposal under the criteria of the JICA, as they will procure the transaction adviser using JICA funds.
Last month, Undersecretary Rafael C. Yabut said the agency planned to bid out all of the phases before the end of the year.
The CLLEX project aims to improve access to the “food baskets” of Cagayan Valley and Aurora Province, as well as the eastern part of the Cordillera Administrative Region. It would ensure safe and faster movement of goods as well as support tourism sector thrust and development directions in the said areas.