Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) secretary, Mark Villar, announced that within the year, motorists will only need three and a half hours instead of the usual 6 hours to travel to and from Baguio City.
“The Tarlac – Pangasinan – La Union Expressway (TPLEX) will be completed in 2020. Travel time from Manila to La Union will be reduced from 6 hours to only 3.5 hours,” said Villar through his official social media page. It could even be less if one is riding an expressway-legal motorcycle.
The secretary is confident that, even after the lockdown brought about by the coronavirus outbreak and has put a halt on government infrastructure projects, big-ticket projects like the TPLEX will be completed on schedule.
TPLEX, which was opened to the public in November 2013, is an 88.85-kilometer, four-lane expressway that connects Tarlac City in Tarlac province, to the Municipality of Rosario in La Union in the north. It begins at the northern end of the Subic – Clark – Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) and currently ends in the town of Pozorrubio in Pangasinan. The remaining stretch from Pozorrubio to Rosario is still under construction but was partially opened during the Christmas season of 2019.
Further in the future, the government and its partners from the private sector are also planning to extend TPLEx further north, reaching all the way to the town of San Fernando and San Juan, La Union. In La Union, it will be divided into three section-segments, namely: Rosario to Tubao, Tubao to Naguilian, and Naguilian to San Juan.
According to a February 2019 article from the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the Tarlac – Pangasinan – La Union Expressway’s total project cost is PhP24.42-billion.