SAN RAFAEL, Bulacan—The full expansion into four lanes of the Metro-Manila bound lanes of Plaridel Bypass which is Bulacan’s fast growing growth center today is gear for full completion first quarter of 2024 after the construction and opening on Monday of almost half of the 22.46 kilometre (km) stretch Phase 3 of the highway from Maasim, San Rafael to Balagtas town
Special Assistant to the President Secretary Antonio Lagdameo Jr., Japanese Ambassador Kazuhiko Kashikawa, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Manuel M. Bonoan and Vice Gov. Alex Castro on Monday led the inauguration of the 7.64 kilometre (km) expansion into tow more lanes of the existing two lanes of the southbound lanes of the Japan-assisted Plaridel Bypass through Japanese International Cooperation Agreement (JICA).
The inaugurated project stretches 9.97 km with the 2.22-km Bustos bridge in Bustos town and across the Angat River including thr 36.86 meter single-span bridge and a 318-meter flyover. The bridge that crosses Angat River that was completed in 2021, Bonoan said is one of Luzon’s longest bridges today.
Bonoan said the inaugurated sections are part of the P689-million worth Phase 3 project which is the expansion and widening into two more lanes of the existing two lanes of the 22. 46 km southbound of Plaridel Bypass. JICA has allotted P5.2 billion for the whole expansion project.
Bonoan said that the additional lanes provided will address traffic congestion and enhance economic activities of the entire Province of Bulacan.
The project started in 2020 but was delayed because of the pandemic and other challenges faced by the DPWH including right of way acquisition.
According to DPWH Senior Undersecretary Emil K. Sadain, the expansion of the existing two lane road to four lanes will cater the increasing volume of traffic going to and from Metro Manila and the eastern part of Bulacan to Nueva Ecija and further areas and provinces in Central and Northern Luzon.
The 24.61 full stretch of Plaridel Bypass directly connects North Luzon Expressway to Maharlika highway and eases the heavy volume of traffic along DRT highway.
The opening of the additional two lanes is expected to boost industrialization and inflow of tourists, thereby improving the quality of life of many Filipinos, particularly those in the Province of Bulacan and nearby areas of Central Luzon, Bonoan also said.
Economic growrh brought by the highway is strongly felt and seen through industrialization, tourism development and commercialization in Guiguinto, Balagtas, Plaridel, Bustos, Baliwag, Angat and San Rafael since its construction in 2012.
Warehouses, quarry plants, manufacturing sites, restaurants other than gasoline stations including the College of Science and soon will be the College of Medicine of Bulacan State University, one of Centra;l Luzon’s premier tertiary institution have sprouted in both sides of the highway making it known today as the game changer highway of Bulacan.
Ayala Corporation is now building a theme park similar along Plaridel area of the Bypass that is similar to Vermoza in Dasmarinas, Cavite.
In line with “Build Better More” infrastructure development agenda of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., the DPWH targets to finish by first half of 2024 the remaining 12.5 km in the project which is now 64.28 percent completed.
Plaridel Bypass started to open in 2012 through Phase 1 and Phase 2 respectively from Balagtas to Bustos and Angat to Maasim, San Rafael.
Other officials who graced the event were Embassy of Japan in the Philippines Second Secretary Kinoshita Akito, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Chief Representative Takema Sakamoto and other DPWH officials, members of the House of Representatives from Bulacan Congressional Districts, and local chief executives.