Traveling to northern Luzon is now easier and faster after San Miguel Corporation (SMC) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) officially opened the final section of the 89.21-kilometer Tarlac Pangasinan La Union Expressway (TPLEX).

Present during the opening ceremony were key personnel from the government, SMC, as well as from the Department of Transportation (DOTr). These included Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade, SMC president Ramon S. Ang, Presidential Adviser for Flagship Projects and BCDA President and CEO Vince Dizon, and Department of Finance Secretary Carlos 'Sonny' Dominguez III.

Final 11-kilometer segment of TPLEX has been officially opened image

The opening of the final 11-kilometer segment meant that travel time between Tarlac to Rosario has been reduced from three and a half hours to just one hour. The newly-opened Pozorrubio, Pangasinan to Rosario, La Union segment is also expected to benefit around 20,000 vehicles daily.

In total, the expressway now has ten interchanges and 11 toll plazas, namely: Tarlac City, Victoria, Pura, Ramos, Anao, in Tarlac; Carmen, Urdaneta, Binalonan, Pozorrubio, Sison in Pangasinan, and Rosario, La Union. The Sison, Pangasinan exit was added to the original alignment to help locals and is currently being completed.

Final 11-kilometer segment of TPLEX has been officially opened image

“Because of the political will of President Rodrigo Duterte, the hard work and follow-through of DPWH Secretary Mark Villar, and of the support of government’s entire economic team, we were able to complete this major project that will benefit so many regions in Luzon,” said Ramon S. Ang, president of SMC.

In the future, SMC plans to extend TPLEX from Rosario, La Union all the way to San Juan, La Union where beaches have now become a hotspot for local tourism. “Our next goal now is to extend TPLEX all the way to San Juan. We look forward to the continued support of our national and local governments for this project, which will bring even more growth to the region,” added Ang.

Final 11-kilometer segment of TPLEX has been officially opened image

As restrictions in the country are slowly eased, the completion of TPLEX means that the transportation of basic commodities and services to and from the region is now faster. We certainly cannot wait to test exactly how fast is the travel time now from Metro Manila, all the way to Rosario, La Union.