The Philippines’ Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is set to begin the second phase of construction works on the Chico Bridge section of the Central Luzon Link Expressway (CLLEX). 

Upon completion of the Rio Chico Bridge section, the travel time between Tarlac City and Cabanatuan City will be reduced from 70 minutes to just 20 minutes.

The 30km expressway CLLEX passes through the municipalities of La Paz, Zaragosa, Aliaga, and Caalibangbangan and connects two large cities of Tarlac and Cabanatuan. 

The project will be carried out with an investment of PHP3.7bn ($72m) that was allotted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Department of Public Works and Highways secretary Mark Villar said: "The Central Luzon Link Expressway (CLLEx) Project originates from the connection of SCTEx and of TPLEx in Balincanaway, Tarlac City and traverses the Paz in Tarlac, Zaragosa and Aliaga in Nueva Ecija, and Caalibangbangan in Cabanatuan City.

"When completed, it is expected to decongest traffic in Pan-Philippine Highway by 48%."

"When completed, it is expected to decongest traffic in Pan-Philippine Highway by 48%.

"The project will provide an important lateral (east-west) link for the overall expressway network in Region III and provide faster access to Cabanatuan, which is base for Pacific Ocean Coastal Area Development."

In a separate development, Villar also presented the Bangasmoro Road Network Development Project in the third Philippines-Japan joint committee meeting on Infrastructure Development and Economic Cooperation.

The infrastructure project will see improvement as well as the construction of a 200km road network covering 11 access roads and bridges connecting the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and other regions in Mindanao.

Image: CLLEX project, Phase I package groundbreaking ceremony. Photo: courtesy of Department of Public Works and Highways.