Portion of TPLEx to be accessible in time for Undas-A A +A
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
THE Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is set to hold a soft opening of the 17-kilometer first phase of Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx) on Thursday in time for the anticipated traffic increase over the All Saints' and All Souls’ Day period.
Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said Wednesday that the TPLEX will not only provide faster, safer, and convenient travel north of Metro Manila during this peak season and beyond, but it will also help enhance business and tourism in Central and Northern Luzon.
He noted that expressways bring opportunities to previously-inaccessible places, increasing real estate values and spurring economic activity through the opening of subdivisions, factories, hotels, malls, and other game-changing locators that serve to boost employment opportunities and livelihood ventures.
The first phase of TPLEx runs from La Paz in Tarlac City, then to Victoria, and finally to Gerona in Tarlac. It is expected to cut travel time by as much as 40 minutes to and from Baguio City.
The next phases for development will be the section up to Rosario, Pangasinan, which is expected to be completed by mid-2014, followed by another stretch to Rosario, La Union, which is targeted for completion by 2016.
The TPLEX is jointly supervised by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), which oversees the expressway's civil works requirements, and the DOTC-Toll Regulatory Board (TRB), which oversees the proper operations of the expressway with emphasis on motorist safety and convenience. Abaya sits as the Chairman of the TRB.
Abaya said that among the DOTC-TRB' safety and convenience measures are the deployment of sufficient traffic management personnel and equipment, enforcement of road rules and regulations, and the provision of security and emergency assistance such as 24/7 repair and towing services, firetruck availability, and emergency medical services.
DOTC-TRB also implements safety standards for lighting, fencing, and installing signs, guardrails, and visible lane markings, among others, he added.
Motorist safety and convenience have also been enhanced by the DOTC-TRB’s suggestion to add 1 lane per direction, upgrading the TPLEX to a 4-lane divided expressway instead of the original 2-lane undivided expressway design, the DOTC chief said.
The 4-lane design includes a center median which separates traffic in opposing directions, making travel safer and faster for the public. (SDR/Sunnex)