LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The construction of the 88.4-kilometer Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) will proceed pursuant to approved plans on the final stages from Urdaneta City, Pangasinan up to its established exit in Saytan, Rosario, La Union right at the mounth of Kennon Road and Marcos highway despite efforts by former Pangasinan 5th district Rep. Mark Cojuangco to divert the exit at least ten kilometres away from the original planned exit, Rep. Ronald M. Cosalan, chairman of the House committee on public works, said here.
Cosalan said Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson already informed him that plans to revise the plans of the TPLEX in order to bring the exist to at least 10 kilometers away from the original programmed exit in Saytan, Rosario, La Union is no longer feasible at this time as the Aquino administration is now on its last 18 months.
“Allowing motorists, especially farmers and visitors, to travel an additional 5 to 10 kilometers from the TPLEX exit as proposed just to reach its original planned exit at the mouth of Kennon road and Marcos highway will defeat the purpose of providing motorists with convenient and lesser travel time going up to the Cordillera,” Cosalan stressed.
The lawmaker explained what the DPWH is inclined to do is work on several adjustments along the route from Urdaneta City, Pangasinan up to its exit in Saytan, Rosario, La Union to make the road follow a much straighter line in order to give a little bit to the request of Cojuangco but not to deviate on the planned exit.
According to him, the proposal of Cojuangco to put up a by-pass road from the proposed exit in the town proper of Rosario, La Union up to the mouth of Kennon road and Marcos highway which was the original planned exit is not feasible considering the need of an additional P1 billion for the additional structures which is not part of the TPLEX program of work.
While Cojuangco was able to secure the endorsements of local governments in Pangasinan, La Union and Ilocos Norte for his proposed revision of the TPLEX exit ten kilometres away from the original planned exit, Cosalan said endorsements from the Benguet provincial board, Mountain Province board among other local governments comprising the Cordillera supporting the original plan of the TPLEX will also be given to the DPWH for appreciation and appropriate action.
“We cannot afford to sacrifice the interest of our farmers and tourists that is why we want the DPWH to stick to the original planned exit at the mouth of Kennon road and Marcos highway,” Cosalan said.
He asserted Cojuangco’s motive in seeking the revision of the TPLEX exit to an area near the properties of several corporations connected to his family is obviously in line with his political ambitions next year but he will do what is necessary to compel the implementing agency to stick to the original plan of the multi-billion expressway project for the greater interest of Cordillerans, especially those visiting Baguio and Benguet during the summer months.
Cosalan said he respects the desperate move of Cojuangco to work out the realignment of the TPLEX exit in order to satisfy his personal and political ambitions but there is really a need to complete the project in due time considering that it is one of the priority projects of the Aquino administration in order to improve travel time to the north. By Dexter A. See