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Manila to Ilocos can be shorten via TPLEX extension

THE TARLAC-PANGASINAN-LA UNION EXPRESSWAY (TPLEx) is expected to shorten travel time to Baguio City and the Ilocos provinces once it is completed in 2016. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Have you tried travelling Ilocos Norte before? It takes more or less 12 hours or half a day to reach it from Manila. But something will make a big change to what's used to be long drive to the Ilocos Region.

Last quarter of 2017, the government finally opened the Pozorrubio Exit which shortens the travel time of Manila to Baguio and vice versa. Now, they are going to the next level in connecting Northern Luzon straight from the metropolitan Manila.

According to Phil Star:

San Miguel Corp. (SMC) has submitted an unsolicited proposal to extend the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) by another 100 kilometers (km) to reach the Ilocos province.

The group has sent its project proposal to Public Works Secretary Mark Villar for evaluation, SMC president Ramon Ang said in an interview yesterday.

“We proposed for the extension of TPLEX going to Ilocos,” he said. “It is now pending with the DPWH for them to evaluate.”

Ang said the proposed project would extend TPLEX ending in Rosario, La Union all the way to Ilocos province, adding another 100 km to the expressway.
As for the cost of the project, the SMC official said they are still crunching the numbers.

If approved by the DPWH, SMC would be given the original proponent status (OPS) and the proposal will go through a Swiss challenge.

“If they like the project, we would be given an OPS and then subject to Swiss challenge,” Ang said.

Through the Swiss challenge, SMC would have the right to match the best offer to be given by another group for the project.

TPLEX is an 89.31-km expressway from Tarlac City, Tarlac to Rosario, La Union, divided into three phases.

Segment 7, Section 3A-1 of TPLEX from Urdaneta City to Binalonan, officially opened in July last year.

TPLEX Segment 7, Section 3A-2, from Binalonan to Pozorrubio in Pangasinan, was opened to motorists in December last year.

The segment, which is approximately 10.10-km, is the second to the last portion of the TPLEX project that would be constructed by SMC unit Private Infrastructure Development Corp. (PIDC).

The last segment or Section 3B covers Pozorrubio in Pangasinan to Rosario, La Union and is expected to be completed by June 2019, based on the timetable posted on the DPWH website.

The completion of the TPLEX is expected to ease and improve traffic in the northern part of the country.

At present, almost 20,000 vehicles traverse the stretch of the existing TPLEX segments daily from La Paz, Tarlac to Urdaneta, Pangasinan.

I already traveled the Ilocos Region (Pangasinan, La Union, Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte) multiple times (twice the Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte) and it really takes time and effort to do. A 3-day itinerary is so much compressed and rushed when you do it there.

It's almost impossible to have it as your weekend getaway from Metro Manila. But hopefully, this will make some changes and give us the convenience of traveling the road less and enjoy the experience more.

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