SMC fast-tracks P13.1-B SLEX extension

Published May 21, 2021, 2:46 PM

by Emmie V. Abadilla

Despite unsettled Right of Way (ROW) issues and pandemic restrictions, San Miguel Corporation (SMC) is speeding up work on its P13.1 billion, 66.74-kilometer, South Luzon Expressway Tollroad-4 (SLEX-TR4) from Sto. Tomas, Batangas to Lucena City, Quezon.

“Despite the limitations, we’re moving forward and making good progress,” SMC President Ramon S. Ang today, May 21, announced.

The strategic road project is expected to boost the economy of the southern Tagalog region.

“Next to the TPLEX (Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway), SLEX-TR4 is our longest expressway project by far,” he noted.

“We know from experience the inherent challenges of a project of this scale,” Ang acknowledged.

“Acquiring all the necessary rights-of-way is the primary challenge. We are using the same strategy we utilized for our Skyway 3 project–which is to concentrate work on all workable areas–and then adjust as other areas become available,” he explained.

Work on SLEX-TR4, which started in 2019, is currently concentrated on the project’s Section B in Alaminos, Laguna and Section C in Tiaong, Quezon, near the Hacienda Escudero area.

At Section B, construction is focused on the project’s PNR underpass, Koquinkona bridge, and Maharlika underpass, all parallel to the Alaminos-Tiaong Bypass road.

Pipe-laying for drainage as well as embankment works to level the road prior to laying of concrete, is ongoing.

Meanwhile, at Section C, work on the Tiaong, Quezon interchange has also progressed well.

Construction of the Tiaong bridge, Tiaong underpass, and Dolores bridge, as well as drainage and embankment works, are underway.

While pandemic restrictions forced SMC to scale down construction, the impact on the project timeline is not substantial.

They can simply accelerate work once quarantines are eased.

ROW is still the biggest factor that will determine how fast the project can be completed, Ang stressed.

Nevertheless, “We are confident that we will overcome all these challenges,” he hastened to add.

“Much like all SMC projects, this is our own investment–we are not just contractors for government—we are putting in all the resources needed to build it. We are determined to make this successful and beneficial to as many Filipinos as possible.”

SLEX-TR4 will form part of SMC’S interconnected expressway network in the south.

“Apart from making Laguna and Quezon province more accessible, SLEX-TR4 will boost agriculture and tourism; open up our provinces to more investments, and allow our people to have an easier time visiting their hometowns or loved ones in the province,” he concluded.