After having been either put on hold or postponed for decades, the construction of the South Luzon Expressway Toll Road 4 (SLEX-TR4) looks like it will finally begin this month. The project will extend the SLEX from Santo Tomas, Batangas, to Lucena, Quezon.
In an Inquirer.net report, Quezon governor David Suarez confirmed this latest development and said that the official groundbreaking schedule is already being finalized prior to the start of construction. Two separate groundbreaking events have already been held for the SLEX-TR4 project, first during the term of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, then during the term of former President Benigno Aquino III. Prior to this, plans to construct the extension began as far back as the Marcos administration, before being approved during the Ramos administration.
Upon its completion, the SLEX-TR4 is expected to shorten travel time between Santo Tomas and Lucena from three hours to just one hour.
Issues with right-of-way acquisition, settlement, and permit issuance had hindered the project, but according to Inquirer.net, Secretary Mark Villar of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said that a “significant portion” of road right-of-way has been acquired.
The SLEX-TR4 extension spans 57km, with the project being divided into five sections: 1) Santo Tomas to Makban, Laguna (10.58km); 2) Makban to San Pablo, Laguna (12.2km); 3) San Pablo to Tiaong, Quezon (8.1km); 4) Tiaong to Candelaria, Quezon (14.4km); and, 5) Candelaria to Lucena, Quezon (12.3km).
The DPWH website states the project has a total cost of P13.10 billion. As of this writing, the published construction schedule also indicates that work should have begun in June 2017, with a target completion date of August 2021.