South expressway to curl to Lucena

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Authorities have revived a road project to link Quezon province’s capital city, Lucena, to Metro Manila’s southern gateway, the Southern Luzon Expressway (SLEx), and to reduce travel time to two hours.

Gov. David Suarez described the proposed P12-billion project, dubbed Toll Road 4 (TR4), as the “biggest incentive” to investors who would bring their business to the province.

“Quezon is surrounded by wide open seas and now, here comes the realization of a major highway that will link us faster to the country’s capital,” he said over the phone.

Construction of the proposed 57-kilometer, four-lane expressway extension will start middle of next year and is expected to be finished in 2018, according to Quezon’s public information officer, Janet Geneblazo-Buelo, citing the project proponent, South Luzon Tollway Corp. (SLTC).

In the early ’90s, a proposed project to link this city to the SLEx, which would mean traversing the slope of Mt. Banahaw, was met with strong opposition from militant groups, nongovernment and environmentalist organizations. The proponent was forced to abandon the Banahaw route and the project was eventually shelved by succeeding administrations.

“The new plan was for the road extension to traverse not along the slope of the mountain but far from it. But the travelers will still feast on her scenic beauty as they cruise along the new road,” Buelo said.

SLTC assured provincial officials led by Suarez during a meeting on Aug. 30 that the TR4 project would not destroy the environment and would be “environment friendly,” Buelo said. The company, she added, would respect the rights of landowners, especially farmers, whose properties will be affected.

Once completed, travel time from this city to Manila would be reduced from the present three-and-a-half hours to one-and-a-half hours.

The TR4 project is divided into five sections—Sto. Tomas town to Makban in Batangas (TR4-A), Makban to San Pablo City in Laguna (TR4-B), San Pablo to Tiaong town in Quezon (TR4-C), Tiaong to Candelaria town, also in Quezon (TR4-D); and Candelaria to Lucena (TR4-E).

It will have five interchanges in Sto. Tomas-Makban, San Pablo, Tiaong, Candelaria and Lucena.

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