By Emmie V. Abadilla
MACTAN, Cebu – Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) yesterday started the construction work for Cebu’s third bridge, the P29-billion Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX), one of the biggest infrastructure projects in the country.
The 4-lane toll bridge, which spans 8.5 kilometers and is expected to have an initial traffic of 40,000 vehicles daily, is a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) between MPTC subsidiary Cebu Cordova Link Expressway Corp. (CCLEC) and the local governments of Cebu City and Cordova.
The expressway project, expected to be finished by 2021, provides an alternative link from the South, between Mactan Island, where the Mactan-Cebu International Airport is located and Metro Cebu, the regional growth center of the Visayas.
It will cut travel time by half for those commuting between Mactan and Metro Cebu, according to MPTC President and CEO Rodrigo E. Franco.
At present, motorists take 20 minutes to travel in the two congested existing bridges in the Northern part of Cebu – the Mactan-Mandaue and the Marcelo Fernan Bridges.
The toll bridge will have two lanes each direction and will feature the main twin cable-stayed bridge structure, viaduct and causeway.
MPTC will finance 70 percent of the project cost via equity and 30 percent, via borrowings from about 6 local banks.
“Funding is on the way,” he noted.
The company will raise R18 billion to R19 billion from banks and expect the financial closing by next month.
Subsidiary CCLEC will build, operate and maintain the toll bridge in the project’s 35-year concession period.
Last December, CCLEC awarded the P22.6-billion “Design and Build” contract of the CCLEX to the Cebu Link Joint Venture (CLJV), a consortium of Spain-based Acciona Construccion SA, with local firms First Balfour, Inc. and D. M. Consunji, Inc.
Aside from providing travel efficiency, CCLEX is seen to help spur economic growth and boost investments not just in Cebu City and Cordova Municipality, but also in the entire Cebu Province and Visayas Region.
The CCLEX is the first of MPTC’s envisioned toll road expansion projects in Visayas and Mindanao.
MPTC is the toll road arm of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), a publicly listed infrastructure holding company and is a member of the MVP group of companies.
It is the largest toll road concessionaire and operator in the Philippines that has now expanded its business in other ASEAN countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia.