Subic-Clark expressway operational by 2005
By Bernie Cahiles-magkilat

Barring any delays in the acquisition of the right-of-way, the P18.7 billion Subic-Clark-Tarlac expressway project will be operational by 2005.

This was the assessment made during the executive committee meeting of the Multipartite Monitoring Team (MMT) of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway Program (SCTEP).

Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) president and chief executive officer Rufo Colayco presided the meeting, which was attended by Pampanga Governor Lito Lapid and Zambales Governor Vicente Magsaysay.

The MMT passed a resolution to strengthen the monitoring of the road project and ensure that the environment is protected during the construction of the road network.

The project is being implemented by the BCDA through a special loan from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC).

The 90-kilometer expressway is designed to provide the shortest, direct and efficient link among areas in Central Luzon, specifically the Subic Bay Special Economic Zone and Freeport Zone in Zambales, the Clark Special Economic Zone in Pampanga and the Luisita Industrial Park in Tarlac.

Colayco said the linkage via the expressway will spur the economic development in Central Luzon and nearby areas.

It will also alleviate the worsening traffic condition along the Manila North Road, North Luzon Expressway and the PanPhilippine Highway.

The road will also provide an allweather high speed controlled access between the central and northern regions of Luzon and will serve as an alternate route to the lahar-threatened Gapan-San Fernando-Olongapo Road.

The proposed road alignment will cut across rivers and lahar watersheds.

A total of 35 bridges and minor drainage structures will be constructed with 28 located within the Subic-Clark Section, and 7 within the Clark-Tarlac Section.

Additional facilities such as toll plaza service facilities, administration complex, toll collection, audit and monitoring system will also be constructed.

As for the Toll Operation, BCDA is undergoing discussions and negotiations with the Toll Regulatory Board and is finalizing the terms of reference for the selection of the toll operator.