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Traveling through CALABARZON will now be easier with the opening of the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX). This road is set to provide a direct route between the two provinces.
A Public-Private Partnership
The construction of the CALAX is a public-private partnership between the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and MPCALA Holdings, Incorporated (MPHI). This project, which is worth P35.43 billion as listed on the Public-Private Partnership Center, will result in the construction of a four-lane expressway spanning 44.63 kilometers between the CAVITEX and the SLEX, two roads serving Cavite and Laguna.
Apart from entry points at Kawit in Cavite and the SLEX-Mamplasan Interchange in Biñan, Laguna, the CALEX will have interchanges at the following locations in Cavite:
- Daang Hari
- Governor’s Drive
- Aguinaldo Highway
The Laguna portion of the expressway will have interchanges at the Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay road, as well as Laguna Blvd., and then Technopark before reaching the Mamplasan Interchange.
Construction on the CALEX began with a groundbreaking ceremony of the Cavite segment on March 22, 2019. Construction was accelerated on the Laguna segment, featuring the construction of the interchanges up to Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay as of the end of October 2019.
An Opening for a Holiday
The first 10 kilometers of the CALEX was opened for public use in time for the November 1 holiday. Travelers were allowed the use of a single CALAX lane on October 30, 2019, until 10:00 pm. In a statement by MPHI President and General Manager Roberto V. Bontia to news outlets such as Business World, the CALAX was also be opened for use from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. between October 31 and November 2 to accommodate travelers returning to Manila.
According to Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar, the partial opening of the CALAX was in order to decongest Laguna Boulevard and Aguinaldo Highway, two major thoroughfares in the area. The 10-kilometer stretch of the expressway was expected to accommodate 10,000 vehicles during the holiday. Even with the use of a single lane of the CALAX, the 45-minute drive between Mamplasan to the Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay exchange would be reduced to 10 minutes.
Following November 3, the CALAX would remain open to motorists from Sundays to Thursdays, from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Extended operating hours would be in place from Fridays to Saturdays, with the expressway opening at 6:00 am and closing at 10:00 pm. This operating scheme is set to be in place until the completion of the remaining subsections of the CALAX.
Villar and Bontia disclosed to local news outlet ABS-CBN further details about the CALAX’s operations. For the time being, travelers will be permitted to use the CALAX toll-free. A speed limit of 60 kilometers per hour would be enforced until the completion of construction. The fully functional CALAX will utilize new technologies such as an automatic license plate recognition system, an IP-based speed camera system, and high-definition CCTV cameras.
Roads and Ways of CALABARZON
The CALAX is only one of several infrastructure projects designed to ease travel through CALABARZON or Region IV-A and its neighbors such as Metro Manila in the north and Bicol Region to the southeast. The Manila South Diversion Road Underpass, also simply known as the Lucena Underpass, was opened on October 23, 2019.
A proposed project listed on the NEDA website is the North-South Railway Project (NSRP) – South Line, which will offer both commuter railway and long-haul railway services. The commuter line will run from Tutuban in Manila to Calamba in Laguna, while the long-haul line will utilize a branch line between Calamba and Batangas, as well as an extension between Legazpi City and Matnog in Bicol. This railway is set to provide an alternative means of travel as well as connect underserved areas in three regions.
Sources: The Public-Private Partnership Center, Business World, ABS-CBN, NEDA
Main photo via MPCALA Holdings, Incorporated