February 5, 2021
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, portions of the 30-kilometer Central Luzon Expressway (CLLEX) were completed, expanding road network options for travelers in nearby municipalities.
The CLLEX Phase I is one of the key infrastructure projects that the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is supporting under the Build, Build, Build program in partnership with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). The project's segments in the Tarlac Section and Rio Chico River Bridge section were completed recently, further boosting the economic prospects in the regions.
"The CLLEX project provides an opportunity to help farmers and industries bounce back from the disruptions brought by COVID-19. It will help ease movement of goods and traffic in congested portions in the north," said JICA Philippines Senior Representative KAWABUCHI Kiyo. "Further, we aim to contribute to expanding the Philippine expressway network, improve the Filipino commuting experience, and promote industry and economic development in the regions to attract investments and create jobs following the pandemic."
Every day, around 11,200 motorists and commuters travel between Tarlac City and Cabanatuan City. Aside from weighing heavily on people's quality of life, traffic congestion in the Philippines' major highways and expressways slow economic growth and pose hazards in the environment.
According to DPWH Project Manager Engineer Ben Bautista, CLLEX will help decongest the Pan-Philippine Highway by 48% and reduce travel time between Tarlac City and Cabanatuan City to 20 minutes when completed. Travel time from Metro Manila to Cabanatuan City will also be reduced from three hours and six minutes via the Pan-Philippine Highway or two hours and fourteen minutes via SCTEX - Tarlac Sta. Rosa Road to just one hour and 53 minutes.
Aside from CLLEX, JICA is also supporting other key infrastructure under the Build, Build, Build agenda, such as Road Upgrading and Preservation Project, Metro Manila Interchange Construction Project Phase VI, Metro Manila Priority Bridges Seismic Improvement Project, Davao City Bypass Construction Project, and Road Network Development Project in Conflict-Affected Areas in Mindanao.