Motorists plying SCTEX and TPLEX will now experience faster travel time after state-owned Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA), builder and owner of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) and the Private Infra Dev Corporation (PIDC), concession holder of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) implemented a joint toll operations plan for the SCTEX-TPLEX interconnection yesterday morning (6:00 am, March 7).

As suggested by our Inside Man Tito Hermoso in his column last month entitled Holy Week 2014 traffic horror at TPLEX, the new joint plan will give motorists plying both tollways the convenience of stopping only at one toll plaza to pay their exit fee and get their entry ticket for the next toll road they are entering.

“The interconnection between the SCTEX and TPLEX will tremendously save precious time for the motorists as they travel both expressways,” said Arnel Paciano D. Casanova. BCDA President and CEO.

Under the joint operation plan, the temporary SCTEX toll plaza located under the San Miguel overpass will be deactivated. The TPLEX Central Barrier Toll Plaza will serve as the toll plaza where motorists exiting the SCTEX will pay their SCTEX exit toll fee. Following payment of their exit toll fee, motorists will also be handed their entry ticket to the TPLEX.

Similarly, motorists exiting the TPLEX will pay their exit toll fee at the TPLEX Central Toll Plaza and at the same time, get the entry ticket to the SCTEX.

Casanova added that the interconnection will address the long queuing of vehicles especially during holidays where traffic volume in the expressways increase exponentially.

The TPLEX Parclo Plaza in Tarlac will also be established to address vehicles coming from Mac Arthur Highway bound for the SCTEX and vehicles from TPLEX bound for the Mac Arthur highway.

Also under the planned interconnection, the SCTEX La Paz Toll Plaza will be re-activated to address vehicles bound for Nueva Ecija. It would be recalled that when the temporary SCTEX toll plaza located under the San Miguel overpass was established, the La Paz Toll Plaza was deactivated as the temporary SCTEX toll plaza also serviced vehicles bound for the SCTEX La Paz exit.

The tollway operators will conduct the joint operation until the permanent PHP175-M Tarlac Toll Plaza of the SCTEX. The construction cost will be shouldered by both the BCDA and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). The former will shoulder the cost of the toll plaza’s detailed design, traffic management and installation of the Toll Collection System (TCS) amounting to P25 million. The public works department will fund the civil works at a cost of P150 million, the bulk of which involves the construction of the toll plaza.

DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson recently greenlighted the construction of the Tarlac Toll Plaza which aims to ease traffic for motorists plying both tollways. BCDA Project Manager for SCTEX Services Joshua Bingcang estimated construction to take about six months with favorable construction weather conditions.

The BCDA is also exploring a possible interconnection project with the Manila North Tollways Corporation (MNTC), concession holder of the NLEX.