10 ‘Build, Build, Build’ projects in Central Luzon

BY

NIGHT OWL

Anna Mae Yu Lamentillo

According to Philippine Statistics Authority, the economy of Central Luzon grew by 5.6 percent in 2019. Service has the largest share in the region’s economy accounting for 45.1 percent. Industry accounts for 42.6 percent while agriculture, forestry and fishing is responsible for 12.3 percent.

Despite this, Central Luzon remains to be the “Rice Granary of the the Philippines.” Out of the country’s total rice yield of 18.81 million metric tons, 3.72 million metric tons or 19.8 percent  come from Region 3.

The increase in road connectivity in Central Luzon is expected to improve the net profit to cost ratio of agricultural products and transform the regional economies of Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pamplanga, Tarlac and Zambales.

One of the big ticket projects in the “Build, Build, Build” program is the Bataan-Cavite Interlink Bridge — a 32.15-kilometer four lane bridge which aims to connect Central Luzon, CALABARZON, and Metro Manila.

The inter island bridge, which is 15 times longer than San Juanico Bridge, is part of the Mega Bridge Masterplan — a blueprint institutionalized by the Duterte administration to eventually connect Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao via land travel.

According to “Build, Build, Build” czar Mark Villar, Department of Public Works and Highways has completed 2,438 kilometers of roads, 489 bridges, 1,617 flood mitigation structures and 13,219 classrooms in Region 3.

1. Bataan-Cavite Interlink Bridge

Bataan-Cavite Interlink Bridge (perspective)

The 32.15-kilometer  inter-island bridge will start from Barangay Alas-asin in Mariveles, Bataan, cross Manila Bay and terminate in Barangay Timalan, Naic, Cavite. When completed, the project will reduce travel time from Bataan to Cavite from five hours to only 20 to 30 minutes.

The detailed engineering design of the project will be carried out within a 15 month period with the support of Asian Development Bank.

It will include the construction of two navigation bridges — the North Channel Bridge and the South Channel Bridge and six viaducts.

2. Plaridel Bypass

The Plaridel Bypass Road project, a new arterial road traversing the municipalities of Balagtas, Guiguinto, Plaridel, Bustos, and San Rafael in the province of Bulacan has been opened.

Funded by the Government of the Philippines (GOP) and Government of Japan through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the recently completed highway shortened travel time to and from North Luzon Expressway via a new interchange at Barangay Burol 2nd, Balagtas to the Philippines-Japan Friendship Highway in Barangay Maasim, San Rafael, Bulacan.

The infrastructure project is expected to accommodate 15,000 vehicles per day and cut travel time between NLEX-Balagtas to Maharlika Highway in San Rafael by as much as 30 minutes.

3. Central Luzon Link Expressway 

CENTRAL LUZON Link Expressway

CENTRAL LUZON Link Expressway

The 30-kilometer Central Luzon Link Expressway is targeted to be finished by July this year. Travel time from Tarlac City to Cabanatuan City in Nueva Ecija will be reduced to just 20 minutes.

4. Pandi National High School

The newly completed Pandi National High School adds 80 more classrooms in Bulacan. Since July 2016, 13,219 classrooms have been completed in Region 3.

5. Ciudad de Victoria Interchange

The Manila North Road in Bocaue, Bulacan will soon be connected to the town of Sta. Maria without passing the Governor Halili Road with the completion of the Ciudad de Victoria Interchange Bypass Road. Within the year, travel time from Bocaue to Sta. Maria in Bulacan will be reduced from 50 minutes to only 15 minutes.

6. Pulilan-Baliuag Diversion Road 

PULILAN-BALIUAG Diversion Road

PULILAN-BALIUAG Diversion Road

Travel time between the towns of Baliuag and Pulilan in Bulacan has been reduced by half, from one hour to only 30 minutes with the opening of the 9.6-kilometer  Pulilan-Baliuag Diversion Road. The project also includes the construction of bicycle lanes.

7. Capas-Botolan Road 

CAPAS-BOTOLAN Road

CAPAS-BOTOLAN Road

The 84.47-kilometer Capas-Botolan Road will serve as a direct link between the provinces of Tarlac and Zambales, and will further provide access to the New Clark City. It starts in Olongapo-Bugallon Road in Zambales and end at Manila North Road in Tarlac.

8. Bagac-Mariveles Road 

The project which starts at Barangay Paysawan in Bagac and ends at Mariveles in Bataan serves as an alternate route to SCTEX and Roman Expressway. It is expected to benefit about 1,000 motorists per day and reduce travel time from 120 minutes to only 40 minutes.

9. Sta. Cruz-Mangatarem Road

The 19.45-kilometer Daang Kalikasan Road will start at Tarlac-Pangasinan Road and end at Sta. Cruz, Zambales. When completed, it will reduce travel time from Mangatarem in Pangasinan to Zambales from two hours and 30 minutes to only one hour.

10. Subic Freeport Expressway

SUBIC FREEPORT Expressway

SUBIC FREEPORT Expressway

Despite the pandemic, the ₱1.57-billion capacity expansion project along Subic Freeport Expressway (SFEX), which started construction in May 2019, is now open to the public. The toll road, which is operated by NLEX Corporation includes a 108-meter tunnel and two bridges — the 23.7-meter Argonaut bridge and the 181.2-meter Jadjad Bridge.