STA. RITA —The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Thursday said that the P1 billion expansion and rehabilitation works on the Jose Abad Santos Avenue (Jasa) is now 60 percent complete.

DPWH Regional Director Alfredo Tolentino said that the construction of additional lanes and clearing the vital highway system has proceeded within schedule and is expected to complete by April this year.

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“The objective is to finish the construction before the end of the term of office of the President. The improvements would greatly help bring back Jasa into its superb condition,” Tolentino said.

Jasa, formerly known as the Gapan-San Fernando-Olongapo Road, is a vital access route leading to Subic Freeport and the Bataan commercial areas and fish ports, he said.

He said the highway’s western portion is traversed by hundreds of public buses and jeepneys daily, with vehicular traffic estimated at 115 vehicles (both private and passenger type) per hour on inbound traffic from Bataan to San Fernando alone.

The Jasa project, which covers 22 kilometers, is a foreign-assisted project.

The aim, Tolentino said, is to make Jasa a model highway for commercial and commuter travel.

As soon as the project is completed, the DPWH will conduct a formal traffic study in the area to improve vehicular traffic flow and to determine further engineering interventions and facilities to be installed.

Tolentino said they are currently studying the possibility of putting up traffic lights in Jasa’s major intersections to improve traffic flow. However, such improvements will entail additional funding and a traffic study as basis for putting the said facility in place, he said.