Back in September, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) promised that a large section of the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX) will be accessible in about a month. They said that it will be opened just in time before All Saints Day which sees a lot more traffic coming out of Manila and into the provinces.

As promised, the first ten kilometer segment of the said expressway is now accessible to the public. For now, there are specific times when you can pass through the thoroughfare, as mentioned by Bobby Bontia, president and general manager of MPCALA Holdings, Inc (MPHI).

First 10 kilometers of CALAX now partially opened image

“(From) Oct 31-Nov 2, it shall be open from 6:00AM to 10:00PM. For the daily access time starting November 3, we agreed with DPWH that it will be Sunday to Thursday 6:00AM to 6:00PM and giving extended time on weekends, Friday to Saturday 6:00AM to 10:00PM. This will only be temporary, until the remaining works for these first subsections are completed. The public is reminded to drive safely and observe relevant traffic rules while travelling along the partially opened lane,” said Bontia.

The first segment starts at the Mamplasan Barrier and passes through the Laguna Technopark interchange, and the Laguna Boulevard Interchange all the way to Santa Rosa-Tagaytay Interchange (N420). When we first drove along that portion of CALAX, it took us less than 20 minutes to cover Mamplasan to Santa Rosa while traveling at 40 km/h. It is expected to be much less than that once it is fully operational.

First 10 kilometers of CALAX now partially opened image

CALAX is set to be the country's first expressway that will have what the DPWH calls a barrier-less entry system. They will be installing an Automatic License Plate Recognition System which will shorten waiting times at toll entry points, thus making getting on to the expressway more convenient. Speed cameras, and high-definition cameras will also be installed along CALAX to supplement on the road speed enforcement.

DPWH secretary Mark Villar said that the current state of the road is about 90 percent completed with the remaining ten percent being fast tracked to completion. They are currently aiming for the expressway to be fully operational before December. The first ten kilometer section is just one fourth of the entire CALAX network which will span a total of 45 kilometers. It will then have eight interchanges; namely Kawit, Daang Hari, Governor’s Drive, Aguinaldo Highway, Silang, Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay, Laguna Blvd., Technopark, and a new Toll Barrier before SLEX.