Building of a better and wider Dalton Pass being studied by DPWH, JICA

The Dalton Pass – originally Balete Pass, is a part of the Maharlika Highway that connects Cagayan Valley to Region III and eventually to Metro Manila. Over the years and with increased vehicular traffic, the road condition along Dalton Pass has deteriorated and travelers often encounter heavy traffic along the way, leading government agencies to propose a “second Dalton Pass” that is better built, wider, and can accommodate more vehicles.

Its construction may soon become a reality.

Just recently, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) have been doing a preparatory survey of the Dalton Pass East Alternative Road, which is a proposed 23-kilometer highway that will decongest the existing Dalton Pass by providing an alternative road connecting Tayabo, San Jose, Nueva Ecija to Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya and vice versa.

This preparatory survey, according to DPWH, is being done to obtain information on the relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, and sustainability of the project, which will facilitate JICA's review of the proposed Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan financing and will serve as the basis or preparation for the upcoming Appraisal Mission.

If this project pushes through, natural calamities such as typhoons and earthquakes will no longer isolate the Cagayan Valley region or even hamper the flow of commodities.

The surveying works of JICA on the Dalton Pass East Alternative Road project are set for completion by Q3 of this year. Then, the 15-month Detailed Design and Procurement will be conducted by DPWH followed by its 5-year civil works that are targeted to commence by 2025.