SANTA ROSA CITY, Laguna – The first 10-kilometer stretch of the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX), from the Mamplasan, Santa Rosa City Interchange in Laguna to the Silang-Tagaytay City Interchange in Cavite, is expected to open by the end of the month.

Once opened, at least 10,000 motorists and commuters would be served daily and ease traffic along Governor’s Drive, Aguinaldo Highway, and Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay Road.

CALAX TO OPEN SOON. The first 10-kilometer stretch of the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX) is expected to open by the end of the month. At least 10,000 motorists and commuters would be served daily once it is opened to the public. (PNA photo by Saul E. Pa-a)

Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar, along with other officials and executives from the Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation, made the assurance on Tuesday following their drive-through and inspection of the toll exchange plaza and roadside works.

“This is the Laguna portion of CALAX and by the end of the month, the 10-kilometer segment will be opened starting from Mamplasan and at the end of Santa Rosa, after passing through the commercial area here, you are already headed towards Tagaytay,” Villar said in an interview.

"Kaya nga in-open din namin ito (that’s why we are set to open this) by end of October in anticipation of the 'Undas' (All Saints and Souls’ Day), so our motorists and commuters have other options for alternative routes like using the CALAX,” he added.

The opening of the first three sections by the end of the month would spur trade and tourism in Laguna and Cavite, Villar said.

The first sections to be opened will start from the Mamplasan Barrier and passes the Laguna Technopark Interchange and the Laguna Boulevard Interchange to the Santa Rosa-Tagaytay Interchange.

Once the entire alignment from Laguna to Cavite is completed, travel time from the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) to Cavitex would be reduced from two hours to 45 minutes while the Laguna portion of 10 kilometers could save on travel time from 20 to 30 minutes from Santa Rosa to Tagaytay City or onwards to Nasugbu, Batangas.

Villar said the CALAX-SLEX interconnection is just having finishing touches with the interchange and rotunda groundworks. Once finished, it is the fastest route going to Silang, Cavite up to Tagaytay City since they would no longer have to pass by Santa Rosa City.

He said the CALAX project is on target with the completion of the Laguna portion, as he vowed that right-of-way (ROW) acquisitions for the Cavite portion of the expressway are expected to be completed by next year.

“Mabilis naman ang acquisitions ng right of way (ROW) sa (we’re expediting the acquisitions of the right of way in) Cavite and by next year the ROW in Cavite would be completed and we’re on schedule for the target completion for the entire alignment by 2021,” Villar said.

MP Cala Holdings Inc. president Bobby Bontia assured the completion of the full 45 kilometers by the second quarter of 2022.

“CALAX is designed to be a 4-lane, tolled expressway that will connect CAVITEX in Kawit to South Luzon Expressway at their Mamplasan Interchange with interchanges in eight locations,” Bontia said.

The interchanges for the CALAX are located in Kawit, Imus Open Canal, Governor’s Drive, Aguinaldo Highway, Silang, Santa Rosa-Tagaytay, Laguna Boulevard, Technopark, and a toll barrier before SLEX.

He said CALAX would showcase technologically-advanced features such as Automatic License Plate Recognition System enabling barrier-less entry to CALAX, IP-based speed detection cameras strategically installed, and high-definition CCTV cameras to cover the entire stretch of the expressway.

CALAX is a public-private partnership project with an estimated cost of around PHP35 billion for the entire 45-kilometer alignment. (PNA)