The Department of Public Works and Highways, through secretary, Mark Villar, has announced Monday that a new expressway will soon connect Cabanatuan and Tarlac cities, cutting travel time between them to only 20 minutes.

This new expressway – Central Luzon Link Expressway (CLLEX) – is a 30-kilometer expressway that will connect Tarlac City in the province of Tarlac and Cabanatuan City in Nueva Ecija.


Public works secretary Villar has said that the “new toll-free expressway from Tarlac City will be open to motoring public up to Aliaga, Nueva Ecija, by May 15, 2021”. The secretary was referring to the 1st phase of the project, which is approximately 18-kilometers long.

Initially planned as a toll road, the CLLEX may be toll free for its first few weeks of operation while the other segments are finished.

Open to sub-400cc?

Unfortunately, the first phase of the CLLEX connects to the existing SCTEX and TPLEX expressways. As such, only motorcycles 400cc and above may travel on CLLEX as they will need to abide by the current rules on SCTEX and TPLEX if they wish to divert into CLLEX.

According to DPWH, this expressway project is non-PPP (Public-Private Partnership), meaning, unlike the other tollways (NLEX, SCTEX, TPLEX, SLEX, STAR, etc.), CLLEX is currently not managed by a private company and was funded via a loan from Japan through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).