Traveling between Tarlac and Nueva Ecija will soon be faster than before. The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) announced that work on the 30-kilometer Central Luzon Link Expressway (CLLEX) is now 94% complete.
According to DPWH Secretary Mark Villar, the first 18-kilometers of CLLEX will soon be accessible to motorists. Currently, the Tarlac Section and Rio Chio River Bridge Section, with a total length of 10.5-km, have been fully completed. Meanwhile, the 9.2-km Aliaga segment of the expressway is already 87% finished.
The DPWH originally planned to open Phase 1 of CLLEX to the public in April 2021. But due to quarantine restrictions, work on the expressway had to be temporarily halted. DPWH Undersecretary Sadain mentioned that work on the Aliaga and Zaragoza Interchange Sections was halted from April 7 – May 16, 2021.
There was also the health requirement mandated by the Aliaga Municipal Health Center Management for health clearance. With it, the partial opening of CLLEX was once again moved, this time from May to July 2021.
Despite the setback, work on the other segments of the expressway continues. This includes the 10.3-km Cabanatuan Section which is now 88% finished. There's also the previously-mentioned Zaragoza Section that involves the construction of the Zaragoza Bridge Interchange, 4.88-km access roads, two pre-stressed concrete girder bridges, five reinforced box culverts for farm passage, and seven irrigation canals.
Once the four-lane, 30-kilometer expressway is fully opened to the public, it will reduce travel time from Tarlac City, Tarlac to Cabanatuan City in Nueva Ecija from 70 minutes to just 20 minutes. In addition, the DPWH estimates that 11,200 motorists and commuters will benefit from CLLEX. It is also expected to ease traffic along Daang Maharlika by about 48%.
With the DPWH looking to partially open the expressway by July of this year, motorists in Central Luzon may soon have an alternate route going to and from their destinations. In the future, CLLEX will be extended from Cabanatuan City to San Jose City, Nueva Ecija under the project's Phase II plan. Once complete, CLLEX will have a total length of 65.70-km.