Tarlac–Pangasinan–La Union Expressway

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Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway
Map of expressways in Luzon, with the Tarlac‑Pangasinan‑La Union Expressway in red
Route information
Maintained by Private Infra Dev Inc.
Length: 88.9 km (55.2 mi)
Major junctions
South end: E1 (Subic–Clark–Tarlac Expressway) / N58 (Santa Rosa–Tarlac Road) near Tarlac City
North end:
Major cities:
Towns: [1]
Highway system
Roads in the Philippines
Highways | Expressways (list)

The Tarlac–Pangasinan–La Union Expressway (TPLEx) is an 88.85-kilometre (55.21 mi) four-lane expressway currently under construction north of Manila, in the Philippines. It connects central to northern Luzon,[2] with its southernmost terminal located in Tarlac City, Tarlac and its planned northernmost terminus currently slated to be at Rosario, La Union.[1][3]

The first section of the project, from Tarlac City to Pura, Tarlac, has been operating on a "soft opening" basis since October 31, 2013, and was ready for full operation in November 2013.[4]

Part of the second segment, which will take motorists up to Ramos, Tarlac opened on December 23, 2013. The remaining section from Anao, Tarlac up to Rosales, Pangasinan is projected for a mid-2014 opening, and the final section ending in Rosario, La Union, is slated for completion in April 2018.[1][3]

Proposals have also been raised for extending the project all the way to Laoag in Ilocos Norte.[2]

The TPLEX is an extension of North Luzon Expressway and Subic–Clark–Tarlac Expressway from Tarlac to Rosario, La Union.

The expressway crosses the 3 rivers within the province of Pangasinan. The rivers along the TPLEx area are Agno River, Binalonan River, and Bued River.

Route description[edit]

TPLEX follows a route that parallels the MacArthur Highway from Tarlac City in Tarlac to Binalonan in Pangasinan. The whole expressway has four lanes, with two lanes per direction, separated by a concrete barrier. Sections on the exits and their approaches are illuminated with street lights at night. Significant sections of the expressway are built on raised land overlooking rice paddy fields. The whole expressway is designated as part of expressway E1 of the Department of Public Works and Highways Route Numbering System[5]


Travelling north on the TPLEx towards Pura

The Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway starts in Tarlac City as a physical extension of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway. The expressway passes through the municipalities of Victoria, Pura, Ramos, and Anao. Significant portions of the expressway in Tarlac are built on raised land or embankments, and existing roads cross through underpasses built on cuts on the embankment. The road enters Cuyapo in Nueva Ecija without any major junction, before entering Pangasinan, at the municipality of Rosales.


The viaduct over Agno River in the Rosales–Villasis boundary

The Pangasinan segment of TPLEX starts at the municipality of Rosales, which has two exits, named Rosales and Carmen, with the former remaining unopened. The expressway the crosses through a viaduct over the Agno River, alongside with a National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) transmission line from San Manuel. The road then enters Urdaneta, which is served by a single interchange that connects with MacArthur Highway. The Urdaneta exit served as the expressway's northern terminus until the extension to Binalonan opened. Past Urdaneta Exit, TPLEX crosses above the Manila North Road and under a 500,000 volt NGCP transmission line from Labrador, then ends at a partially opened trumpet interchange with highway 210 to Manaoag and Mangaldan.


Conception and early development[edit]

Although calls for the creation of an expressway system that would stretch from the Philippine Capital of Manila all the way to Rosario, the southernmost town of the province of La Union, had been raised even before the turn of the millennium,[6] these calls first actually began to bear concrete fruit in the mid-2000s.

In 2005, construction began on the Subic–Clark–Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx), creating a linked expressway system which reached all the way to Tarlac City, Tarlac - an improvement over the North Luzon Expressway's terminus which reached only up to Mabalacat, Pampanga.

In 2006, Congressional representatives from Northern Luzon took advantage of the final reading of House Bill 5749[7] to lobby for a project that would extend the expressway system to Rosario, as a means to boost trade, tourism, and speed up transportation in the provinces of Tarlac, Eastern Pangasinan, and La Union.[8] As a result of this lobbying, the Arroyo administration announced in October 2006 a ten-year period in which the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) would be extended from Mabalacat, Pampanga to Rosario, La Union and the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) would be extended from Calamba, Laguna to Lucena in Quezon and eventually up to Matnog, Sorsogon.[9]

In 2008, the SCTEx was formally opened, setting the stage for the development of the TPLEx, which would extend beyond the SCTEx' terminus in Tarlac City.

The initial plan for the construction of the TPLEx was that it would be carried out in two phases: The first phase would involve the construction of two lanes while the second phase entailed its expansion into four lanes to accommodate 25,000 vehicles.

The proposed superhighway would be built parallel to MacArthur Highway, passing through the city of Tarlac and the municipalities of La Paz, Gerona, Victoria, Pura, Anao and Ramos in Tarlac, Nampicuan and Cuyapo in Nueva Ecija and Rosales, Villasis, Urdaneta, Binalonan, Pozorrubio and Sison in Pangasinan, and Rosario, La Union.[10]

Development Stage Tollway Alignment
Phase 1 Tarlac City, Tarlac to Rosales, Pangasinan
Phase 2 Rosales, Pangasinan to Urdaneta City, Pangasinan
Phase 3 Urdaneta City, Pangasinan to Rosario, La Union
Extension Rosario, La Union to San Fernando, La Union

The financing, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of the Tarlac-La Union Toll Expressway Phase 1 was eventually awarded to Private Infra Development Corporation (PIDC)[11][12]

Project Financing[edit]

Three local banks undertook the financing of the TPLEX: BDO Unibank, Development Bank of the Philippines, and Land Bank of the Philippines. This made TPLEX notable in the Infrastructure and Development Financing industry "the first Public-Private Partnership project in the Philippines to feature an all-domestic cast of sponsors and lenders.” London-based Project Finance Magazine named the TPLEX as its "Asia Pacific Transport Deal of the Year" for 2011.[13]

The project is being implemented through public-private partnership using the Build–operate–transfer (BOT) scheme in which the project proponent is responsible for the design, financing, and construction of the initial two-lane expressway.

As each section of the toll road is completed, it is turned over to the government. The government then grants the proponent the franchise to operate and maintain the toll road, after which the proponent, after a certificate to commence toll operation issued by the Toll Regulatory Board, operates the road on behalf of the government under a long term concession agreement.

Development Disputes[edit]

Alignment dispute over San Fabian and Pozorrubio routes, both in Pangasinan

Land acquisition[edit]

A contributor to delays in the early development of the TPLEX was the acquisition of the Right of Way for the project. With the TPLEX identified as a high priority government project,[14] the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) was given the task of acquiring the Right of Way for the project's proposed alignment, and was allocated P793 million in the hope that the process could be expedited.[15] However, numerous legal disputes regarding affected properties, notably in the Tarlac segment of the project,[16] meant delays in the negotiation process being undertaken by the DPWH.[17][18]

Alignment of Rosario Interchange[edit]

The expected completion of the entire expressway caused a major delay when an unsolicited proposal was brought up to change the alignment of the project to change the location of the final interchange in Rosario, La Union. [19] [20][21] Former Pangasinan 5th District Representative Mark Cojuangco proposed three alignments: one would pass through Urdaneta City, then San Fabian, and exits Brgy. Cataguintingan of Rosario, La Union. This is about 1.48 kilometers longer from the original TPLEX end at Barangay Subusob, Rosario. The second proposal will also pass through San Fabian but will end at the original TPLEX end at Barangay Subusob. The first two proposals skips Pozorrubio. The third proposal will pass through Pozorrubio, San Fabian, and then end at Barangay Subusub. All proposals intend to skip the municipality of Sison. The Cordillera Administrative Region Development Council has rejected the idea. [22] The target completion date had been moved from end of April 2017 to end April, 2018. [23]

Construction of Phase 1 (Tarlac City to Rosales)[edit]

Approaching Victoria exit. The first phase (Tarlac City–Victoria–Pura) was opened to motorists in November 2013

The first phase of the Tarlac-La Union Toll Expressway started in January, 2010.[24][25]

The new TPLEX Logo as a part of SMC Infrastructure

In April 2013, San Miguel Corporation announced that the segment from Tarlac City up to Urdaneta will be built with four lanes, instead of the initial plan of two lanes only. However, this also pushed back the opening day of the expressway from June 2013 to November 2013.[26]

Tarlac City - Pura Segment Opening[edit]

On October 25, 2013, the Toll Regulatory Board authorized the issuance of the Toll Operation Permit for the Tarlac City - Pura segment of the TPLEX after the construction of that segment was completed by Private Infra Dev Corp. (PIDC), the all-Filipino consortium backed by conglomerates San Miguel Corp. (SMC) and DMCI Holdings Inc.[4]

This first phase, referred to as Section 1A, begins with a connection to SCTEX, then stretches 17 kilometres (11 miles) from Tarlac City to Victoria, and then to Pura, Tarlac. It is expected to cut current travel time to Baguio by as much as 40 minutes.[4]

Pura - Ramos Segment Opening[edit]

On December 23, 2013, The expressway opens up to Ramos, Tarlac bringing TPLEX up to 23 kilometres (14 mi) of its operational length.

Ramos - Carmen/Rosales Segment Opening[edit]

On April 16, 2014, Phase 1 of the project was completed when the Rosales section was opened in time for the Lenten traffic and it is the halfway to go to Baguio.

Construction of Phase 2 (Rosales to Urdaneta)[edit]

Carmen - Urdaneta Segment Opening[edit]

In December 2014, Section 2 of the project, covering 13.72 km from Carmen to Urdaneta, was opened to traffic, as what PIDC president Mark Dumol had announced on the day the completion of Phase 1 was announced.

Construction of Phase 3 (Urdaneta to Rosario)[edit]

In the December 2014 announcement for the opening of Phase 2, Dumol also projected that the last section, covering 25.83 km from Urdaneta to Rosario and including an exit in Pozorrubio, would be completed some time in 2015.[27] However, there were delays in the implementation of the project, which included a highly disputed proposal to divert the exit 7 kilometres (4.3 miles) away to San Fabian in Pangasinan.

The DPWH and the PIDC announced in July 2015 that they will continue to follow the original plan for the last phase exiting in Rosario, adding that this last phase would be completed by the following year, 2016.[28]

This development phase was further subdivided into Phase 3A, from (Urdaneta to Pozorrubio), and Phase 3B, (Pozorrubio to Rosario). Section 3A would include trumpet-type interchanges at Binalonan and Pozorrubio, while section 3B would end at a roundabout-style interchange in Rosario La Union.[29]

After the opening of the exit at Binalonan in September 2016, the DPWH said segment 3B from Pozorrubio to Rosario is expected to be completed in April 2018.[30]

Urdaneta to Binalonan segment opening[edit]

By mid-August 2016, the first exit of section 3A, at Binalonan, Pangasinan, had been opened to the driving public. Notably, this created easy access to the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Manaoag, located only 10 minutes away from the new Binalonan exit plaza.[31]


Binalonan to Pozorrubio and Rosario Terminus[edit]

In September 2016, The DPWH said the second exit of section 3A, which covers the 7.53-km from Binalonan to Pozorrubio, was supposed to open in December 2016. However due to the dispute caused by the unsolicited San Fabian realignment proposal, the project target completion was moved to April 2018.

Extension to Laoag[edit]

On June 11, 2013, at the Annual Stockholders Meeting of San Miguel Corporation, its Chairman, Eduardo Cojuangco Jr. revealed plans of extending the expressway north to Laoag, Ilocos Norte. He said that the extension of the toll will road business to Laoag has been raised during the Arroyo administration.[32]

Extension to San Fernando City, La Union[edit]

As a part of the project of increasing the 200 km radius of High Standard Highways of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) into a 300 km radius from Metro Manila, the expressway will be extended to the city of San Fernando, La Union.[33]

Technical specifications[edit]

  • Name: Tarlac–Pangasinan–La Union Expressway
  • Concession Holder: Private Infra Dev Corporation
  • Operator: Private Infra Dev Corporation
  • Length: 88.85 kilometres (55.21 miles) (Including the extension)
  • Concession starting date: October 2013
  • Concession ending date: February 2044
  • Highway exits: 10
  • Lanes: 4 Lanes (2 Lanes each direction)
  • Toll plazas: 2
  • Rest and Service Areas: 2
  • Minimum Height Clearance on Underpasses: 4.28 metres (14.0 feet)


The Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway uses a closed road tolling system where motorists get a card upon entry and surrender it on exit. The toll fee is per kilometer travelled, and divided by vehicle class. No electronic toll collection (ETC) system is used on TPLEX.

Class Toll[34]
Class 1
(Cars, Motorcycles, SUVs, Jeepneys)
Class 2
(Buses, Light Trucks)
Class 3
(Heavy Trucks)


Special features of the expressway will include:[35]

  • A fleet of patrol cars and emergency assistance vehicles that can respond to motorists anywhere along the stretch within 10 minutes
  • Rumble strips
  • Concrete barriers
  • Guardrails
  • Lay by
  • Lighting and cameras in all toll plazas
  • Signs and pavement markings with powdered glass beads for enhanced visibility
  • Speed sensors to ensure motorists will keep to the 100-kilometers per hour limit
  • Toll plazas in major entry points will be equipped with electronic card dispensing machines
  • Toll fare display are identical to Skyway-NAIA Interchange display in all toll plazas
  • All installations will be fiber optic, internet-enabled


Current Exits[edit]

Exits are numbered by kilometer post, with Rizal Park in Manila designated as Kilometer 0. Exits start at 228 because the SCTEX is connected with TPLEX. Thus, the last exit of SCTEX will be succeeded by an exit in TPLEX.

Province City/Municipality km mi Exit Name Destinations Notes
Tarlac Tarlac City Tarlac City Tarlac City, La Paz Folded diamond interchange. Road continues south as Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway
Tarlac toll plaza (cash payments)
Victoria Victoria Victoria, Talavera Trumpet interchange.
Gerona Petron TPLEX (northbound and southbound)
Pura Gerona Gerona, Pura, Guimba Trumpet interchange.
Ramos Ramos Paniqui, Ramos, Guimba Trumpet interchange.
Anao Anao Anao, Moncada Trumpet interchange.
Nueva Ecija Cuyapo No major junctions
Pangasinan Rosales San Manuel San Manuel, Rosales Unopened trumpet interchange.
Carmen Carmen, Rosales Trumpet interchange. Access to SM City Rosales.
RosalesVillasis boundary Bridge over the Agno River
Villasis No major junctions
Urdaneta Urdaneta Urdaneta, Dagupan Trumpet interchange.
Binalonan Binalonan Binalonan, Manaoag, Mangaldan Trumpet interchange. North end of expressway. Access to the Our Lady of Manaoag shrine.
Pozorrubio Pozorrubio
La Union Rosario Rosario toll plaza (cash payments)
Rosario Roundabout interchange. Future north end of expressway.
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

San Fernando extension[edit]

The entire route is located in La Union. Exits are still undetermined. 

City/Municipality km mi Destinations Notes
Rosario Connection with TPLEX Rosario connection
Santo Tomas
San Fernando San Fernando toll plaza
Connects with F. Ortega Highway
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Arcangel, Xianne (2013-10-29). "First phase of TPLEX to begin operations Wednesday". GMA News Online. GMA Network Inc. Retrieved 2013-10-29. 
  2. ^ a b Lowe, Aya (2013-06-12). "TPLEx may extend up to Laoag — Cojuangco". Rappler.com. Ortigas Center, Pasig City: Rappler, Inc. Retrieved 2013-10-30. 
  3. ^ a b Rebuyas, Michael (2013-11-02). "17-km stretch of TPLEx now open to motorists". The Philippine Star. Mandaluyong City, Philippines. Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  4. ^ a b c Camus, Miguel R. (2013-10-27). "First phase of TPLEx set to open on Oct. 30". Philippine Daily Inquirer. MAkati, Metro Manila: Inquirer.net. Retrieved 2013-10-27. 
  5. ^ "Route Numbering System 2016: Region III" (Map). 2016 DPWH Atlas. 1:975000. Department of Public Works and Highways. 2016. Retrieved May 25, 2017. 
  6. ^ "Tarlac–Pangasinan–La Union Expressway (TPLEx) Fact Sheet" (PDF). PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP (PPP) CENTER FOR PUBLIC INFORMATION. Retrieved 2013-10-30. 
  7. ^ "PNCC to extend NLEX to Rosario in La Union". Business Mirror. Makati City, Philippines: Philippine Business Daily Mirror Publishing Inc. Retrieved October 30, 2013. 
  8. ^ "NEDA BOARD APPROVES TPLEX, INCREASES FINANCING FOR ARMM SOCIAL FUND". National Economic and Development Authority (Philippines). February 2, 2010. Archived from the original on November 4, 2013. Retrieved November 30, 2013. 
  9. ^ Diaz, Jess (October 7, 2006). "Malacañang approves extension of NLEX, SLEX". The Philippine Star. Mandaluyong, Philippines: Philstar. Retrieved October 30, 2013. 
  10. ^ NEDA Project Proposal Monitoring
  11. ^ "San Miguel acquires 35% stake in Tarlac-La Union road project". abs-cbnNEWS.com. 2009-08-27. Retrieved 2013-10-30. 
  12. ^ Zurbano, Joel (2008-02-04). "Up Ahead: Fast Road to Baguio". Manila Standard. City of Manila, Philippines: Kamahalan Publishing Corporation. Archived from the original on 2008-02-05. 
  13. ^ Zurbano, Joel (2012-04-22). "Tollway is ‘deal of the year’". The Manila Standard. City of Manila, Philippines: Kamahalan Publishing Corporation. Archived from the original on 2012-04-22. 
  14. ^ "PGMA lauds private sector for joining TPLEX project". balita.ph. Philippine News Agency. 2010-03-01. Retrieved 2011-05-30. 
  15. ^ "DPWH speeds up TPLEX construction". Manila Bulletin. Intramuros, Manila, Philippines: Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation. 2011-09-14. Archived from the original on 2011-09-14. Retrieved 2013-10-30. 
  16. ^ Cervantes, Ding (2013-01-04). "TARLAC-LA UNION EXPRESSWAY PROJECT -- Farmer groups: DPWH paying ‘fake’ claimants". Punto! Central Luzon. City of San Fernando, Pampanga, Philippines: LLL Trimedia Coordinators. Retrieved 2013-10-30. 
  17. ^ Sotelo, Yolanda (2013-01-06). "TPLEX opens in June, cuts travel time by one hour". Northern Watch. Dagupan City, Pangasinan. Retrieved 2013-09-30. 
  18. ^ http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/668390/tplex-rerouting-squabble-sizzles
  19. ^ Palangchao, Harley (2011-05-01). "Solons bat for original TPLEX plan to boost tourism, economy". Baguio Midland Courier. Baguio, Philippines. 
  20. ^ http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/16628/a-hump-at-expressway%E2%80%99s-endpoint
  21. ^ See, Dexter A (6 March 2015). "Tplex exit re-do costly — Cosalan". Manila Standard. Retrieved 29 May 2017. 
  22. ^ "RDC ExCom nixes bid to realign TPLEX". National Economic and Development Authority Cordillera Administrative Region. Baguio, Philippines. 2015-01-27. 
  23. ^ http://build.gov.ph/Home/Summary/43?Agency=DPWH
  24. ^ Role, Jennilyne C. (2010-01-27). "PGMA leads TPLEX groundbreaking". Retrieved 2011-05-30. 
  25. ^ "Arroyo to lead expressway groundbreaking". Sun Star Pangasinan. Ortigas Center, Pasig City, Philippines: Sun Star Publishing Inc. February 28, 2010. Retrieved 2011-05-30. 
  26. ^ Hermoso, Tito (24 April 2013). "What happens next?". AutoIndustriya.com. AutoIndustriya. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  27. ^ Agcaoili, Lawrence (14 April 2014). "SMC to open new segment of TPLEx". philstar.com. The Philippine Star. Retrieved 29 May 2017. 
  28. ^ Dumlao, Artemio (13 July 2015). "TPLEX exit in La Union to go on as planned". philstar.com. The Philippine Star. Retrieved 29 May 2017. 
  29. ^ http://www.dpwh.gov.ph/PPP/projs/tplex.htm accessed September 1, 2016
  30. ^ http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/816473/new-tplex-exit-shortens-travel-to-pilgrim-site
  31. ^ TPLEX'S BINALONAN TOLL PLAZA NOW OPEN. The Philippine Star, 16 August 2016. http://www.pressreader.com/philippines/the-philippine-star/20160816/282187945419851 accessed 1 September 2016
  32. ^ http://www.rappler.com/business/industries/208-infrastructure/31131-tplex-may-extend-up-to-laoag
  33. ^ "TPLEX Extension | Department of Public Works and Highways". www.dpwh.gov.ph. Retrieved May 4, 2017. 
  34. ^ http://www.dpwh.gov.ph/ppp/main2.asp?page=a18
  35. ^ Agcaoili, Lawrence (2013-10-28). "SMC to open Tarlac portion of P24-B TPLEX". The Philippine Star. Mandaluyong City, Philippines. Retrieved 2013-09-30. 

External links[edit]