MPTC jumpstarts Visayas expansion

CEBU CITY: Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC), the tollway arm of the Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investments Corporation, has started expanding outside the Luzon region by commencing the construction of the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) Project.

“This is very important to us. In the Philippines, it is our first expressway project outside of Luzon. Before, all of our projects were in Luzon, and now we’re expanding to Visayas, and then hopefully will lead to Mindanao as well,” MPTC President and Chief Executive Officer Rodrigo Franco told reporters in a chance interview.

Franco made the statement on Thursday during the launch of the 8.5-kilometer CCLEX project, which is being undertaken by subsidiary Cebu Cordova Link Expressway Corporation (CCLEC).

MPTC is the holding company of the Luzon-based North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) and the Manila-Cavite Expressway (CAVITEX).

“We’re looking at the projects of the national government and see, because they made some announcements that they would be constructing roads and then bidding out the O&M (operations and maintenance). Those might be of interest,” Franco said, referring to possible projects in Mindanao.

The CCLEX project is a public-private partnership of CCLEC with the local government units of Cebu. The contractor of the project is the Cebu Link Joint Venture, a consortium of Spain-based Acciona Construccion S.A and Philippine-based First Balfour Inc. and D.M. Consunji Inc.

“Total project cost, P26 billion to P29 billion,” Franco said. The expressway, which will link mainland Cebu to Mactan via Cebu City and Cordova municipality, is expected to reduce congestion in the involved areas, thus spurring economic growth in Cebu.

“It’s eight kilometers, it would take you seven to 10 minutes to cross the bridge. It will cut the travel time by half because the existing bridges are on the northern part of Cebu City. Now, this is the first bridge on the southern part of Cebu City,” Franco said.

“We’re expecting traffic initially of around 40,000 vehicles per day,” he added, noting that the project is expected to be completed in 2021. Toll fee will be around P89, according to Franco.

He also said that there might be upcoming MPTC projects in Cebu following the CCLEX as “our sister companies are also exploring other opportunities here.”

CCLEX is also known as the third bridge connecting mainland Cebu to Mactan. Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar said that the government is looking at the possibility of constructing a fourth bridge, as advised by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

Mayroon kaming ginagawang plano sa (We are making plans for a) fourth bridge. We are hoping to start pag natapos na yung ginagawa ng JICA (once the one that is being built by JICA is completed). We are hoping we can finish [the]engineering design and feasibility [study]this year, para next year makapagsimula na [so that next year we can already start],” Villar said.

“Based on studies, masyado nang congested yung dalawang bridges (the two bridges are already too congested),” Villar added.