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Mayor sees soundness of TPLEx rerouting

/ 12:03 AM January 28, 2015

BAGUIO CITY—Mayor Mauricio Domogan on Monday said rerouting the exit of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx) was a sound idea being proposed by former Pangasinan Rep. Mark Cojuangco.

Last week, Cojuangco said he had asked Private Infra Development Corp. (PIDC), the TPLEx concessionaire, to veer the TPLEx away from farmlands in the Pangasinan towns of Sison and Pozorrubio before it led to the TPLEx exit in Rosario town in La Union province.

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He said the TPLEx could pass through less-developed villages, a route that would be cheaper for the government to build.

Domogan said Cojuangco’s proposal would help reduce government expenses, if it would no longer need to purchase road-right-of-way properties.

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Speaking to city councilors at this week’s flag-raising ceremony, Domogan said he was also warned that some Pangasinan landowners were prepared to block the last stage of the TPLEx construction because it would disrupt their livelihood.

The construction of the TPLEx started in 2010 and is expected to be finished in 2016.

The TPLEx section from Tarlac province to Barangay Carmen in Rosales town in Pangasinan was opened last year. Motorists were allowed to use the TPLEx segment from Carmen to Urdaneta City during the Christmas season but this was closed this month to allow the contractor to complete road works there.

“Would you want court injunctions to stop the project all together? Let us avoid [that situation]. If the rerouting would bring no opposition, why not take that route so we can complete the project on time,” Domogan told reporters.

Cojuangco has proposed a route through the Sison villages of Bantay Insik and Tara-tara, skirting Sta. Cruz village in San Jacinto town and Innalog village in San Fabian town, before it links up once again to a TPLEx interchange in Kataguintingan village in Rosario, La Union.

On Monday, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson said the TPLEx concessionaire’s contract allowed changes in the project design this late in the stage of the project.

Baguio Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda said the city council wanted the Department of Public Works and Highways to explain the dispute first.

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However, the holiday gridlock along the northbound expressways leading to Baguio City has become another compelling reason to reroute the TPLEx exit, Domogan said, citing an argument by Cojuangco.

In a Jan. 19 letter to Domogan, Cojuangco said his proposed route would address the bottleneck that was created in December, when all motorists were led to the junction in Rosario that connected to Kennon Road.

In a news conference in Pangasinan last week, Cojuangco said: “Our proposed route would eliminate northbound traffic from passing through Rosario’s Poblacion village and greatly ease the traffic for those going to Marcos Highway and Kennon Road, further saving time for motorists.” With reports from Kimberlie Quitasol and Yolanda Sotelo, Inquirer Northern Luzon, and Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon

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TAGS: Betty Lourdes Tabanda, Mark Cojuangco, Mauricio Domogan, Private Infra Development Corp., Rogelio Singson, Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway, TPLEx
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