The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in the Philippines has announced that the construction of two lanes on the arterial bypass road in Plaridel, Bulacan, is nearing completion.

DPWH Secretary Mark A Villar said that the new lanes are expected to reduce traffic congestion on the two-lane road connecting North Luzon Expressway in Barangay Burol, Balagtas with Daang Maharlika Highway in Barangay Maasim, San Rafael.

The 2.22km portion of the road is expected to be opened by April and motorists will be able to freely use it.

DPWH Undersecretary for Unified Project Management Office (UPMO) Operations Emil K Sadain said: “The widening of the road and the construction of two-lane bridges adjacent to Angat Bridge (Bridge Eight) and Bridge Nine, under Contract Package Three of Arterial (Plaridel) Bypass Road Phase Three, will be fully completed by the end of March.”

The widening of the bypass is expected to cut travel time between Burol, Balagtas and Maasim, San Rafael from 69 minutes to 24 minutes.

The PHP1.092bn ($22.4m) Contract Package Three was funded by the derived project savings from Arterial (Plaridel) Bypass Road Phase Two, which was financed by a loan agreement between the Filipino Government and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The contract package spans from the Plaridel Bypass Road station 47+400 in Barangay Bonga Menor, Bustos, to station 49+625 in Barangay Tambubong, San Rafael. It includes the construction of a Portland cement pavement seven metres wide, 0.35m thick and 2.5m high on both sides.

Last month, DPWH signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for a loan application for three new proposed bridges across the Marikina River.