Big-ticket infrastructure projects, notably major expressways like the Skyway Stage 3, are being completed one by one. All of this is done to reduce travel time to, from, and around the metro, as well as to improve traffic in the surrounding areas.
But, in the grand scheme of things, all of these expressway projects are part of the government’s ambition of connecting the northern and southern regions of Luzon via a large road network known as the Luzon Spine Expressway Network (LSEN). The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) hopes to reduce travel time from Ilocos to Bicol to nine hours under the LSEN Program. We understand how difficult it is to imagine.
The LSEN’s principal roadways include the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), Skyway Stages 1 to 3, the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX), and the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX).
During a recent online conference with DPWH secretary Mark Villar, he provided us with a few updates on the other key roads under the LSEN that are expected to be completed shortly. The SLEX extension, often known as TR4, is one of the busiest roadways. Construction began in March 2019, and the DPWH reports that Package B is at 2.58 percent completion while Package C is at 30.61 percent completion. The department also stated that the right-of-way acquisition for SLEX-TR4 is currently ongoing.
SLEX-TR4 will subsequently connect to SLEX-TR5, a 416.48-kilometer, four-lane toll road with a total of eight segments. The route begins in Lucena City, Quezon, and extends all the way to Matnog, Sorsogon. This one’s construction has yet to begin.
The Camarines Sur Expressway, a 15.21-kilometer four-lane road connecting the towns of San Fernando and Pili, will be the network’s southernmost road. It is now 15% complete, and the DPWH expects it to be completed after 2022.
Other expressways, both completed and under construction, that do not directly connect the metro to the southern provinces are included in the LSEN, such as the soon-to-be-built Central Luzon Link Expressway (CLLEX), the NAIA Expressway, the Manila-Cavite Expressway, the Cavite-Laguna Expressway, the Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway, and the Cavite-Tagaytay-Batangas Expressway