An Overview of the Luzon Spine Expressway Network
The road network in the Luzon area is well underway.
Known as the Luzon Spine Expressway Network, the network would soon be stretched from 382 kilometres to 905 kilometres of expressways. Not only will traffic be decongested (especially in Metro Manila), but travel time will be cut in half. For instance, instead of the usual travel time of 20 hours from Ilocos to Bicol, travel time will now be reduced to only 9 hours.
According to Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, the continuous build-up of cars on the road causes massive problems. He said, “Based on the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) study, the Philippines losses P3.5 billion a day due to traffic congestion in Metro Manila. “The government will continue to implement the master plan on highway network development to address traffic congestions along with vital road networks in the country particularly in highly urbanized areas.”
He added, “The High Standard Highway (HSH) Network Development Masterplan will be updated by expanding the coverage from the sphere of 200 kilometres to 300-kilometre radius around Metro Manila. Expanding the expressway network will hasten the economic development of regional cities to avoid over-concentration of socio-economic activities in Metro Manila and eventually diminish the economic disparities across the country.”
Among the 23 expressways part of the Spine Network, only seven have been completed so far, which is around 109 kilometres of road. These are the 5.58-kilometre NLEX Harbor Link’s Segment 10 and 2.60-kilometer C3-R10 Section completed and delivered in 2019 and 2020 which connects the C-3 and McArthur Highway; the 14.85-kilometre NAIA Expressway, Phase II completed in 2017; the 27.31-kilometre Urdaneta City -Rosario, La Union Section of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway completed; the 9.96-kilometre Arterial (Plaridel) By-Pass Road, Phase II completed in 2018.
Some of these roads that are being constructed right now are the 18.83 kilometres Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 which connects the South Luzon Expressway to the North Luzon Expressway and expected to open in December 2021; the 8.35-kilometre NLEX Harbor Link, Segment 8.2 which is projected to start in 2021 to 2024, expected to reduce travel time from Mindanao Avenue to Commonwealth Avenue from 45 minutes to 10 minutes; the widening of the 24.61 km bypass road from two lanes to four lanes which include 10 bridges (1,439.72 l.m.), slope stabilization works, and drainage facilities.
Other projects include the 30-kilometre Central Luzon Link Expressway, CLLEx which is already 90% complete and runs from Cabanatuan to Tarlac; the four-kilometre Alabang-Sucat Skyway Connection and Ramp Extension Project which is already 47% completed; the 8-kilometre NLEX-SLEX Connector Road which is already 11% completed; the 7.7-kilometre Manila Cavite Toll Expressway Project, C-5 South Link Expressway which is expected to be completed in 2022; the 32.66-kilometre Southeast Metro Manila Expressway, C-6 (Phase I) which is at 12% progress.
Also, projects that are well underway include the Cavite-Laguna Expressway; the South Luzon Expressway-Toll Road 4 Project; the Camarines Sur Expressway.
There are also projects which are waiting for approval or under a feasibility study. These are the 59.4-kilometre TPLEX Extension from Rosario to San Juan, La Union; the 127-kilometre North Eastern Luzon Expressway; the proposed 19-kilometre North Luzon East Expressway, NLEE (La Mesa Parkways Project) costing P7.8 billion; the C3 Missing Link Project; the 50.43-kilometre Cavite-Tagaytay-Batangas Expressway (CTBEX); the Quezon-Bicol Expressway.
Villar added, “A masterplan study on proposed tunnel projects will be developed to address constraints on connectivity due to the geographic profile of the country.”
Stressing that the Philippines will be very different in 2022, he said, “That I can guarantee and if you can look at the pipeline that we have that’s evidence that definitely there’ll be a different country than what we came in.”