San Miguel Corporation (SMC) is looking to finish work on the South Luzon Expressway Toll Road 4 (SLEX-TR4) project as soon as possible. Measuring a total of 66.74-kilometers, it will connect Sto. Tomas, Batangas with Lucena City in Quezon Province once completed.
SMC boss Ramon S. Ang recently announced that they will pick up the pace on SLEX TR4. This is in spite of right-of-way acquisitions, and pandemic restrictions. For Ang, being able to work on what they currently have is already an advantage for such a big project. Currently, ongoing ROW acquisition is now at 92%, with 93% being appraised by the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP)
“We are in the initial stages of construction for SLEX-TR4, but despite the limitations of the pandemic and delays in right-of-way acquisitions, we’re moving forward and making good progress,” said Ang. “As with any project of this size, acquiring all the necessary rights-of-way is the primary challenge. While we anticipated that it will take some time, it also doesn’t mean we don’t do anything. We are using the same strategy we utilized for our Skyway 3 project--which is to concentrate work on all workable areas--and then adjust as other areas become available”
Work on SLEX-TR4, which first started in 2019, is currently focused on Section B in Alaminos, Laguna, and Section C in Tiaong, Quezon, near the Hacienda Escudero area. At Section B, construction is concentrated on the project's PNR underpass, Koquinkona bridge, and Maharlika underpass; which are are all parallel to the Alaminos-Tiaong Bypass Road. Drainage and embankment work is also being done on the aforementioned segments.
Meanwhile, at Section C, work on the Tiaong, Quezon Interchange has progressed well according to Ang. Construction of the Tiaong bridge, Tiaong underpass, and Dolores bridge, as well as drainage and embankment works, are also underway.
“We are confident that we will eventually overcome all these challenges, with the support of our government, LGUs, and all stakeholders. We are committed to do our part and put all our energy and focus on getting this project done because it is vital to the growth of the Southern Tagalog region,” added Ang.
There's no exact date yet as to when work on SLEX TR4 completed. But the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) estimated that work on the extension project will span until 2022. As mentioned before, work on SLEX TR4 is divided into six packages. These are the 11.32-kilometer Package A from Sto. Tomas, Batangas to Makban, Laguna; 12.75-kilometer Package B from Makban to San Pablo, Laguna; 7.5-kilometer Package C from San Pablo to Tiaong, Quezon; 15-kilometer Package D from Tiaong to Candelaria, Quezon; 10.21-kilometer Package E from Candelaria to Tayabas, Quezon and the 9.96-kilometer Package F from Tayabas to Lucena City, Quezon.
Once complete, the 4-lane toll road will have a total of seven interchanges: Sto. Tomas, Batangas; Makban and San Pablo City in Laguna; Tiaong, Candeleria, Tayabas, and Lucena City in Quezon Province. More importantly, it will greatly reduce travel time between Sto. Tomas and Lucena from 4 hours to just 1 hour.