The Philippines’ Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has announced that the Central Luzon Link Expressway Segment in Tarlac is nearing completion and is preparing to open.

The announcement was made by DPWH Secretary Mark Villar following the inspection of the work under progress.

Villar said that the is 97% of construction is complete of the Central Luzon Link Expressway (CLLEX) Phase 1, Contract Package 1.

This segment originates at the connection of Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) and goes up to Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) in Balincanaway, Tarlac.

Contract Package 1 involved an investment of PHP1.6bn ($30.69m). It includes construction of a four-lane expressway, spanning 4.1km, with the provision of an underpass bridge and two farm passages.

The overall CLLEX Phase 1 has been divided into four packages, which includes construction of a 30km, four-lane expressway.

Once operational, the expressway will cut the travel time between Tarlac City and Cabanatuan City from 70 minutes to 20 minutes.

Its alignment will cross the municipalities of La Paz in Tarlac and Zaragoza and Aliaga in Nueva Ecija and will be beneficial for an annual average daily traffic of 11,200 motorists.

Villar said: “This project will decongest Daang Maharlika by 48% by serving as an alternate route to and fro the two cities.

“Aside from that, we expect the project to promote more livelihood opportunities in Region 3 that will further contribute in reducing traffic in Metro Manila.”

The CLLEX Phase 1 is being carried out by the DPWH-UPMO Road Management Cluster I headed by undersecretary Emil Sadain with a total budget cost of PHP14.93bn from the Official Development Assistance (ODA) Fund.