Last year, the Department of Public Works and Highways announced that the first 4.1 km section of the Central Luzon Link Expressway was nearly completed. Part of Package 1 of the major infrastructure project, the four-lane 30-kilometer expressway will connect the cities of Tarlac and Cabanatuan City. That section will also traverse the municipalities of La Paz, Tarlac, and Zaragoza and Aliaga in Nueva Ecija.

Now, the DPWH has stated that they are looking to partially open Phase 1 of the CLLEX to motorists by the end of 2020. According to DPWH Undersecretary for Unified Project Management Office (UPMO) Operations and Technical Services Emil K. Sudain, the 30-kilometer expressway from the connection of SCTEX and TPLEX is 82% complete. It is now being fast-tracked with the aim of 25 kilometers being opened by December 2020.

Central Luzon Link Expressway to partially open Dec 2020 image

Sadain added that despite work being suspended last March due to quarantine, the first three contract packages and substantial portions of package 4 can be done this year. This will be made possible with the full blast construction activities. Construction on the expressway resumed last May 5 while also adhering to the DPWH's strict health and safety protocols.

Package 1 (CP-1) or the 4.1-kilometer section of CLLEX is already complete and includes the 300-meter temporary off- and on-ramps constructed at the Rio Chico River Bridge Section. Meanwhile, the 6.4-kilometer Package 2 (CP-2) is 94.78% finished and covers the construction of the 1.5-kilometer Rio Chico River viaduct, 42-meter Sta. Lucia River Bridge, and 38-meter La Paz-Victoria underpass bridge.

Central Luzon Link Expressway to partially open Dec 2020 image

Package 3 (CP-3), on the other hand, is now 67.83% complete and sees the construction of the 9.2-kilometer section which includes the building of the 42-meter Guimba-Aliaga underpass bridge and Aliaga interchange. Finally, Package 4 (CP-4) is 68.65 complete and involves the construction of the 10.3-kilometer Cabanatuan section which includes the Cabanatuan and San Juan interchanges.

Work is also being done on a 4.8 kilometer component of the expressway project. This stems from the junction of Carmen-Cabanatuan Road. Dubbed the Zaragoza Interchange section, it comprises of 2.8-kilometer access free road and a two-kilometer interchange ramp. That new road will cross over the embankment of CLLEX main expressway by an overpass.

Central Luzon Link Expressway to partially open Dec 2020 image

Once CLLEX is finished, Phase 1 will cut travel time between Tarlac City and Cabanatuan City from 70 minutes to just 20 minutes. Also, the DPWH said that at least 11,200 motorists and commuters will benefit from this as it will ease traffic along Daang Maharlika by about 48%.

For those looking to travel to Central Luzon for the holidays this year, the partial opening of CLLEX will surely lessen travel time.