Duterte inaugurates CCLEX project

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PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte led Wednesday, April 27, 2022, the inauguration of the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) project, which connects Cebu City and Cordova town.

In his speech Wednesday night, Duterte thanked the Cebu City Government and Cordova Municipal Government, as well as the Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC), and Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway Corp. (CCLEC), for the completion of the new “iconic” landmark despite the challenges brought by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic and Typhoon Odette (Rai).

“Your support for this administration’s goal to boost regional development, provide a comfortable life for every Filipino, and realize our vision of a strongly united nation is truly commendable,” Duterte said.

“Your hard work and dedication to ensure the completion of this monumental task are equally noteworthy,” he added.

He said the CCLEX will not only help solve the “perennial traffic issues” of Metro Cebu but also result in an increase in economic productivity through safer, faster and more convenient means of transporting goods, as well as people.

Duterte vowed that as president of the country, he will continue to work hard to bring a “more comfortable life” for all Filipinos “through sustainable, safe and reliable infrastructure for better mobility transport, especially that we are really crowding every space now.”

CCLEX will open to traffic at a date yet to be announced by its builder, CCLEC, a wholly owned subsidiary of MPTC, which undertook the project in partnership with the Municipality of Cordova and City of Cebu.

Envisioned to become one of the tourist attractions in the Visayas, CCLEX is an 8.9-kilometer road that links mainland Cebu in Cebu City to Mactan Island through Cordova.

It has a design speed of 60-80 kilometers per hour and a navigational clearance or height of 52 meters, allowing large vessels to pass underneath the bridge.

The project is expected to serve 50,000 vehicles daily.

In a statement, MPTC chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said the P33 billion project would draw business and investment to Cebu.

“It will bring in more investments, stimulate trade and commerce, revitalize tourism, and give a collective sense of pride among its people,” Pangilinan said.

MPTC president and chief executive officer Rodrigo Franco noted that foreign direct investments had already begun pouring into Cebu City and Cordova.

The inauguration was attended by top government officials and executives from the private sector, including Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, Public Works Secretary Roger Mercado, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn F. Garcia, Cebu City Mayor Michael L. Rama, Cordova Mayor Mary Therese P. Sitoy-Cho, Mandaue City Mayor Jonas C. Cortes, Talisay City Mayor Gerald Anthony V. Gullas Jr., and Cebu Archbishop Jose S. Palma.

Also witnessing the event were Korean Consul General Song Sewon, Denmark Ambassador Grete Sillasen, Philippine Ambassador to Denmark Leo Herrera-Lim, Ambassador of Spain Jorge Moragas Sanchez, and Honorary Consul of Spain Anton Perdices, among other diplomatic dignitaries.

CCLEC president Allan G. Alfon encouraged motorists to have their vehicles installed with the RFID (radio frequency identification) stickers needed to use the expressway.

To give people time to get the RFID installed, he said toll operators would accept cash in the first days of its operation.

CCLEC said a study by the Center for Social Research and Education of the University of San Carlos found that the CCLEX would contribute to the socio-economic development not only of Cordova and Cebu City, but also of the adjacent cities of Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue, as well as cities and municipalities in the southern part of the Province of Cebu.

Key benefits the study cited included reduced travel time, decongestion of Cebu City and Mandaue City and improved economic activity in the south as it provides a direct link to southern Cebu and its tourist destinations.

The first two bridges linking mainland Cebu to Mactan Island both begin in Mandaue City on the mainland and end in Lapu-Lapu City in Mactan, forcing all motorists wishing to get to Mactan to go through Mandaue, which is situated north of Cebu City.

Mactan is a popular destination for its beaches and other tourist attractions, economic zones that employ thousands of workers, and the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

With the CCLEX, millions of residents from southern Cebu would no longer need to pass through Mandaue City and Lapu-Lapu City in the north to get to Mactan, as they could now get there through Cebu City, which is located at the center of Cebu island.

In Cordova, land values have already started to increase, and an updated land use plan has already been approved, the study noted. (LMY / SunStar Philippines, PR)

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