CABANATUAN CITY – Very soon, the ease of travel by people and goods from here to the western side of Central Luzon where the major expressways in the region are located will become a reality and this is cause for huge excitement in Nueva Ecija province.
The construction of the 30.7-kilometer Central Luzon Link Expressway (CLLEx) is on-going. When completed, it will do away with the circuitous routes in reaching from here the connecting links to the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx), the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) and the Tarlac-Pangasinan Expressway (TPLEx).
“It will reduce travel time from at least 70 minutes to 20 minutes from Tarlac City to Cabanatuan City,” said Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar during a program marking the start of the 2nd package of the 5-package project in September last year.
The 2nd package is featured by a bridge section that will span Rio Chico River between La Paz, Tarlac and Zaragoza, Nueva Ecija.
The 1st section, which started much earlier, features the divergence from the Luisita Interchange of the SCTEx.
The CCLEx is actually a two-phase lateral highway project from Tarlac to San Jose City in Nueva Ecija.
Phase I, which is from the Luisita Interchange to this city, passes thru Tarlac City and La Paz in Tarlac, to the towns of Zaragoza and Aliaga in Nueva Ecija.
Phase II is 35.7 kilometers from here to San Jose City that passes thru the towns of Talavera, Llanera and the Science City of Muñoz.
The construction of the expressway from here to San Jose City commences after the completion of Phase I of the project.
This expressway, the single biggest road project that connects the western and eastern sides of Central Luzon, is fi nanced thru the Official Development Assistance (ODA) and its operation and maintenance thru Public-Private Partnership (PPP). Both phases have a project cost of at least P24 billion.
Currently, travelers from here elect three routes to reach SCTEx – the Sta. Rosa thru Zaragoza-La Paz road; the Caalibangbangan to Aliaga- Zaragoza-La Paz route; and the Cabanatuan-Talavera boundary to Aliaga-Zaragoza- La Paz road.
NL East Expressway
Equally causing excitement was the announced continuation of the North Luzon East Expressway, a 92.1-km lane from the La Mesa Parkway to this city.Phase 1 of this project, which is on-going, is from Commonwealth-La Mesa in Quezon City to Norzagaray, Bulacan.
When this expressway is completed, travel time in traversing the highway in Bulacan from here to Metro Manila would be reduced by as much as three hours.
On the local front here, the on-going construction of two projects, a bridge that will span the Pampanga River here and the by-pass road in Talavera, Nueva Ecija, is looked up to as traffic de-clogging measures for travelers going up north from here and vice versa.
The 1.2-km bridge here is in addition to the two existing bridges spanning the Pampanga River. It will link this city to Talavera town and with its designed new road construction will by-pass the city proper here which has become a monstrous traffic bottleneck due to numerous tricycles and 4-wheel vehicles operating within the city proper.
The by-pass road in Talavera town, which is jointly pursued by the provincial government and the Talavera local government units, is seen to considerably ease traffic fl ow in the town proper whose main highway traversing it was made less wide by business establishments that encroached on the road-rightof-way.
What remains to be done on this by-pass road is the riprap jobs on both sides of the already-completed two-lane road.