Of highways and superhighways: Which infrastructure can benefit real estate developments?

Have you ever wondered where best to develop, buy or invest in real estate properties?

Over the years, expressways have consistently boosted economic activities. More importantly, road projects have allowed more people and goods to conveniently and safely reach their destinations in the shortest possible time.

Let us review the available and planned expressways within Luzon, home to 57 percent of the country’s population with 14 provinces having over a million people each and host to 21 of the Philippines’ Highly Urbanized Cities.

1. South Luzon Expressway. Originally spanning Magallanes Interchange, Makati City and Alabang, Muntinlupa and completed in 1969, SLEX now stretches 46.9 kilometers to Santo Tomas, Batangas, where it links to the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR). It is also connected to the Metro Manila Skyway and Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway.

Further extension is under construction. This 66.74-km portion is expected to provide an alternate route for motorists toward Quezon and beyond to Region 5 (Bicol), with segments expected to be operational this year.

SLEX Toll Road 5 (TR5), approximately 417-km long, is planned to reach Matnog, Sorsogon and will cut travel time between the premier metropolis and Matnog by six hours.  TR5’s Supplemental Toll Operation Agreement was approved last June 2022.  

2. Metro Manila Skyway. The Skyway is an elevated 39.2-km expressway that connects NLEX, SLEX, and NAIAx. Starting from the Skyway Extension located north of Susana Heights SLEX exit, it cuts across the LGUs of Muntinlupa, Taguig, Pasay, Parañaque, Makati, Manila, Caloocan and Quezon City.

With the development of the New Manila International Airport, the airport concessionaire proposed a link to NLEX and SLEX via Skyway Stage 3 through a 19-km Northern Access Link Expressway (NALEX). 

A 32.664-km Skyway Stage 4, also known as Southeast Metro Manila Expressway (SEMME), is underway and will link Arca South in Taguig City to Batasan Road in Quezon City.

3. Muntinlupa–Cavite Expressway. MCX is four-km long and links Cavite to Muntinlupa through SLEX near Susana Heights to Daang Hari/Daang Reyna Roads near Las Piñas and Bacoor, Cavite.

4. Southern Tagalog Arterial Road. Also known as STAR and STAR Tollway, this 41.9-km expressway connects Santo Tomas to Batangas City, passing through Tanauan, Malvar, Lipa, San Jose and Ibaan. Hopefully, it could be extended to Bauan in the future.

5.Camarines Sur Expressway. Spanning 15.21-km, this locally-funded expressway is more than 22 percent complete and will soon improve and further reduce travel time within the province.

6.Cavite-Laguna Expressway. CALAX is partially operational and will span 44.63 km from SLEX in Mamplasan, Biñan City to MCX in Kawit. The first 8.9 km of the expressway connects with Santa Rosa–Tagaytay Road, and another six km leads to the Silang East interchange. The section to the Silang West (Aguinaldo) interchange is expected to be completed this year.

7. Manila–Cavite Toll Expressway. Started in the 1970s, the Coastal Road from Roxas Boulevard to Parañaque City, Las Piñas City, and Bacoor City was upgraded to the 8.7-km Manila-Cavite Expressway or CAVITEX and currently reaches Bacoor City and Kawit, Cavite. Connected to NAIAx, a Sangley extension between Kawit and Cavite City is under proposal while Segment 5 between Kawit, Noveleta, Rosario and Tanza is being studied.

The 7.7-km CAVITEX C-5 South Link Expressway plans to connect CP Garcia Avenue or C5 to CAVITEX at the latter’s Parañaque Toll Plaza. The currently completed portion starts from C-5 near SLEX, crosses over the Skyway, and traverses adjacent to NAIA’s southern perimeter wall to Merville Toll Plaza. A second phase will extend it to Las Piñas, and finally with Coastal Road. 

8. Cavite–Tagaytay–Batangas Expressway. The CTBEX is a proposed 50.42-km expressway that will connect CALAX from Silang, Cavite to Nasugbu, Batangas and is planned to connect with Cavite’s Amadeo, Indang, Mendez, and Alfonso municipalities, among others.

9. NAIA Expressway. An 11.6-km NAIAx elevated airport expressway connects the Skyway with the terminals of the  Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the Entertainment City and CAVITEX, with future plans to connect it to the Bonifacio Global City. 

10. North Luzon Expressway. Originally completed in 1968, NLEX from Balintawak, Quezon City to Guiguinto, Bulacan now stretches 101.8-km through Caloocan, Valenzuela, and numerous cities and municipalities within Bulacan and Pampanga, before terminating at Sta. Ines Interchange in Mabalacat. 

Collectively known as the North Luzon Expressway Harbor Link project, several entry/exit points connect or will hook up with NLEX in Quezon City, Malabon, Navotas and Manila. Meanwhile, a NLEX-SLEX Connector Road spanning eight kilometers is also currently under construction.

On the drawing board is NLEX Phase 3, a 40-km extension from Pampanga to Bataan, and will connect to the Subic Bay Freeport Zone via SCTEX. 

A 19-km Northern Access Link Expressway (NALEX), from the Skyway Stage 3’s Balintawak/NLEX ramp to the New Manila International Airport is next. Another 117-km expressway is planned to be built beyond NMIA to TPLEX, making it eventually 136-km long.

11. Subic–Clark–Tarlac Expressway. SCTEX is one of the main Luzon expressways at 93.77-km long, and links Tarlac City, through Clark, and Tipo in Hermosa, Bataan. It is also connected to NLEX, TPLEX, CLLEX, and Subic Freeport Expressway, and provides a transport corridor between the Subic seaport and Clark International Airport located within the Subic and Clark freeport zones, respectively.

12. Subic Freeport Expressway. SFEX, formerly the Subic–Tipo Expressway, is an 8.8-km long expressway that connects SCTEX to the Subic Freeport Zone, and passes through Bataan and Zambales. 

13. Tarlac–Pangasinan–La Union Expressway. TPLEX, an 89.21-km expressway, connects Regions 1 and 3 and starts in Tarlac City to present Rosario, La Union, passing through the municipalities of Victoria, Pura, Ramos and Anao. It is interconnected with NLEX, SCTEX and CLLEX. Plans are underway to link Rosales and Urdaneta City in Pangasinan; San Fernando, Tubao and Naguilian in La Union; and eventually to Laoag, Ilocos Norte.  

14.Central Luzon Link Expressway (CLLEX). Also known as the Central Luzon Link Freeway, CCLEX is a west-east bound expressway connecting SCTEX/TPLEX in Tarlac City to NELEX in Cabanatuan City. It is already operational, albeit partially, between Tarlac City and Aliaga, Nueva Ecija. The 30.7-km Phase 1 portion between Tarlac City and Cabanatuan City will be extended further by another 35.7-km (Phase 2) to San Jose, Nueva Ecija. 

15.North East Luzon Expressway. The 92.1-km NELEX is currently under construction. The 19-km Phase 1 portion, also known as La Mesa Parkways project, will connect Commonwealth Avenue/C-6 junction in San Jose del Monte to Norzagaray, and will pass through the towns of Santa Maria, Angat, San Ildefonso and San Miguel in Bulacan. Phase 2 is expected to pass through Gapan, San Leonardo, Santa Rosa before ending in Cabanatuan City.

References used include various expressways’ websites and en.wikipedia.org.

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Henry L. Yap is an architect, environmental planner, former real estate practitioner, and one of the undersecretaries of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development.