Ayala, SLEx operator finally agree on Daang Hari design

MANILA, Philippines – Ayala Corporation, the winning bidder of the 4-kilometer Daang Hari-South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) road project, has finally signed an agreement with the SLEx toll operator on the design of the project, paving the way for the construction of its phase two.

Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Executive Director Cosette Canilao said Ayala reached an agreement with SLEx operator South Luzon Tollway Corporation (SLTC) operated by San Miguel Corporation and Citra Group of Indonesia last week.

Canilao said that the new design that was approved would expand the number of lanes of the road project from 4 to 6 lanes.

"It was TRB (Toll Regulatory Board) that said the new design should incorporate 6 lanes instead of 4. Traffic in SLEx is heavy so we need to expand," she noted. 

The P2.01-billion Daang Hari-SLEx road project is the first infrastructure project bid out under the Aquino administration's PPP program. It involves the construction of a paved toll road that will connect Bacoor, Cavite to SLEx via the Susana Heights Interchange in Muntinlupa.

Travel time between Cavite and Southern Luzon is expected to be reduced by 20 minutes during off-peak hours and by 60 minutes during peak hours after the completion of the project.

SLEx is a major artery that connects Metro Manila to the provinces in the south.

Construction of segment 1 of the project started in June last year, but construction of segment 2 was delayed since SLTC needed to approve the design first.

Canilao, however, noted that there are other challenges in the completion of the project such as determining who will shoulder the cost of the changes in design, as well as securing the right of way for the road project.

"This will not be smooth sailing. We need to talk early on with stakeholders," she said.

The PPP executive director added that the government and Ayala are discussing how to shoulder the cost brought by the additional 2 lanes as required by the TRB. The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), on the other hand, will need to secure the right of way.

"So it needs to be determined which will be on the account of the private sector and which will be on the account of the government. The next move also is for DPWH to buy remaining right of way," she said.

Officials of Ayala earlier said that the connector road will be finished by September or October 2014. – Rappler.com