New TPLEx exit shortens travel to pilgrim site
BINALONAN, Pangasinan—Travel time from Metro Manila to the pilgrimage town of Manaoag in Pangasinan province is now shorter with the opening last week of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx) exit in this town.
The new exit along the Binalonan-Dagupan Highway in Barangay Linmansangan here allows a 15-minute drive to the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of Manaoag.
The drive to the church used to take 45 minutes from the TPLEx exit in Urdaneta City when motorists would traverse a 5.5-kilometer stretch of the Manila North Road to Binalonan before turning left to the Binalonan-Dagupan Highway.
Mayor Ramon Guico III said the Binalonan exit was not in the original TPLEx plan. After Urdaneta City, the next exit should have been at Pozorrubio town.
“We fought for the TPLEx toll plaza here because we were able to establish that this is the best exit going to Manaoag. It will also complement what we have in Binalonan, such as our schools, which are contributors to the local economy,” he said.
The opening of the Urdaneta-Binalonan segment also reduced travel time from Tarlac City to Binalonan from two and half hours to 40 minutes, according to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
So far, 67.9 km of the 88.85-km expressway from Tarlac City to Rosario town in La Union province had been completed.
The first TPLEx exit in Pangasinan opened in April 2014 in Rosales, Pangasinan. This was followed by the Urdaneta exit in December 2014. On July 5, the Carmen toll plaza, which is about two kilometers from the Rosales exit, opened.
The Rosales exit served as an entry point for southbound motorists and as exit point for northbound vehicles. All other toll plazas allow vehicles to enter the expressway and travel south or north and exit from both directions.
The DPWH said contractors are now working on the completion of the 7.53-km Binalonan-Pozorrubio segment, which is expected to open in December. The final 13.38-km stretch from Pozorrubio to Rosario will be completed in April 2018. Gabriel Cardinoza, Inquirer Northern Luzon
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