SMC starts work on toll road linking its Bulacan airport project to Pangasinan

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SAN MIGUEL Corp. (SMC) has commenced work on the 76.80-kilometer Pangasinan Link Expressway (PLEX) project, which will connect Pangasinan towns to the company’s mega airport project in Bulacan.

“PLEX will connect to the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) at the Binalonan exit, providing direct access to the New Manila International Airport in Bulacan,” SMC said in a statement on Thursday.

SMC, which also leads the consortium that bagged the contract to operate and rehabilitate the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, expects to commence development works for its Bulacan airport project next year.

The San Miguel group undertakes PLEX as a joint venture project with the province of Pangasinan. The two parties signed the joint venture and toll concession agreements last year.

The 42.76-kilometer first phase of the project from Binalonan to Lingayen, costing P34 billion, is expected to reduce travel time to around 20 to 30 minutes from one hour and 40 minutes, the province said in a statement on its website.

The first phase will extend 2.76 kilometers from TPLEX, another toll road operated by the San Miguel group, to Lingayen, Pangasinan.

“Phase 2 of the project will be a demand-driven expansion all the way to Alaminos, Pangasinan,” the company said.

“[The] expressway project [is] a game-changer for Pangasinan that is seen to boost local industries, agriculture, and tourism by linking the province’s eastern and western corridors,” it added.

The company also said the construction of PLEX will “incur no costs for the provincial government.”

At the same time, SMC committed to “timely completion pending the acquisition of the necessary right of way.”

“The provincial government will also receive a substantial share of the project’s earnings,” SMC President and Chief Executive Officer Ramon S. Ang said. — A.E. O. Jose