P633B Luzon Spine Expressway Network Program advances despite pandemic setback

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has unveiled the latest details of its ambitious Luzon Spine Expressway Network Program, the agency's flagship road infrastructure program in Luzon.


DPWH Undersecretary for Planning and PPP Maria Catalina E. Cabral in a recent webinar said the planned network is comprised of a total of 905 kilometers of high-standard highways and expressways in Luzon, more than twice the 382 kilometers of existing expressways on the island.


The P633-billion priority program will reduce travel time between Ilocos in the north and Bicol in the south from 20 to 24 hours to just nine to 10 hours once it is completed.


Cabral said that to realize the north-south spine network, a slew of projects have been completed, are ongoing or about to begin, including the following:


  • In the north, TPLEX will be extended from Rosario to San Juan, La Union. The TPLEX is the completed 89-kilometer (km) Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway running from Tarlac City to Rosario, La Union. TPLEX's last segment, Section 3, from Urdaneta City in Pangasinan to Rosario, La Union, was finished and opened to traffic last July 15, cutting travel time from Tarlac City to Rosario from 3.5 hours to one hour. Meanwhile, the TPLEX Extension has been approved by DPWH and is currently undergoing NEDA-ICC evaluation.

  • Central Luzon Link Expressway is now 82% complete and expected to be completed by July 2021. The 30-km expressway from Tarlac City to Cabanatuan City in Nueva Ecija is set to reduce travel time from 70 minutes to 20 minutes.

  • Arterial (Plaridel) By-Pass Road Phase 3 involves widening of the road from two lanes to four lanes. It will reduce travel time from Burol, Balagtas to San Rafael in Bulacan from 69 minutes to 24 minutes. It has a target completion date of April 2023.

  • Southeast Metro Manila Expressway, C-6 (Phase 1) is a 32-km toll road from Skyway/FTI in Taguig to Batasan Complex in Quezon City. It will reduce travel time from Bicutan to Batasan from nearly two hours to just 26 minutes. Advanced construction activities for the workable area along Skyway/FTI-C5/Diego Silang Section are now ongoing.

  • Extension of NAIAX is currently under review. The 14-km elevated expressway from the end point of NAIA Expressway (NAIAX) Phase 1 to PAGCOR Entertainment City was completed in 2017, reducing travel time between Skyway and NAIA Terminal 1 from 24 minutes to 8 minutes. The extension of NAIAX will go all the way to Lawton Avenue and Ninoy Aquino Avenue to C-5.

  • The 5.6-km NLEX Harbor Link Segment 10 connecting McArthur Highway and C-3 was completed last April 2019, and has cut travel time from Valenzuela City to C-3 in Caloocan City to just 5 minutes from more than 1 hour.

  • The 2.6-km NLEX Harbor Link C3-R10 Section was completed and opened last June 16. The elevated six-lane ramp extends the NLEX Harbor Link Segment 10 exit to Radial Road 10 (R-10) to shorten travel time from the port area to NLEX from 60 minutes to only 10 minutes.

  • The 8-km NLEX-SLEX Connector Road will extend NLEX southward from the end of Segment 10 in C3 Road, Caloocan City to PUP in Sta. Mesa, Manila, and connect to the Skyway Stage 3. When finished by December 2021, the ongoing project will slash travel time from SLEX to NLEX from 2 hours to only 20 minutes.

  • Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3, an 18.8-km elevated expressway from Buendia, Makati City to NLEX in Balintawak, is almost 88% complete and expected to be finished and opened by yearend. It will shorten travel time from Buendia to Balintawak from 2 hours to only 20 minutes, decongesting EDSA.

  • The Alabang-Sucat Skyway Connection and Ramp Extension is 30% complete and construction work is scheduled for completion by December this year.

  • Manila Cavite Toll Expressway Project or C-5 South Link is a 7.7-km expressway from R-1 Expressway to SLEX/C5 that is seen to trim travel time from R-1 Expressway to SLEX/C-5 from 40 minutes to 10 minutes. Expected to be completed by 2022, its Merville to C-5/SLEX segment was opened to traffic on July 23, 2019. Groundbreaking for Segment 2 (R-1 Interchange to Sucat Interchange) and 3A2 (E. Rodriguez to Merville), meanwhile, was held on July 10, 2020.

  • The 45-km Cavite-Laguna Expressway is an ongoing project that will connect the Manila-Cavite Expressway (CAVITEX) in Kawit, Cavite and SLEX-Mamplasan interchange in Binan, Laguna. When fully completed in 2022, it will reduce CAVITEX-SLEX travel time from 1.5 hours to 45 minutes. The Sta. Rosa to Mamplasan Section was partially opened to traffic on October 30, 2019.

  • The SLEX-TR4 (Toll Road 4) is a 66-km toll road from Sto. Tomas, Batangas to Tayabas/Lucena City in Quezon that has just been approved by the government. With a target completion of 2022, it will cut travel time from Sto. Tomas to Lucena from 4 hours to just an hour. Construction of the Tiaong Interchange in Quezon is now ongoing.

  • Going further south, construction of the Quezon-Bicol Expressway will start from the end point of TR4 in Tayabas and extend to San Fernando, Camarines Sur. The 220-km expressway has been given the go signal to begin construction.

  • The 15-km Camarines Sur Expressway will connect the municipalities of San Fernando and Pili in Camarines Sur province. It is 13% complete and seen to be completed by late 2020 or early 2023. It will cut travel time from 51 minutes to 11 minutes.

"Hopefully, once we finish the Luzon Spine Expressway Network … with the TPLEX Extension all the way in Ilocos and your Quezon-Bicol Expressway going all the way to Bicol, your travel in Luzon connecting north and south will be reduced to just about 8 to 9 hours," said Cabral.


She added that this is part of the DPWH's commitment to provide infrastructure support to the supply chain and logistics sector in view of the industry's key role in economic recovery particularly from this pandemic. ­--- Philexport News and Features