After more than three years in the works, the entirety of the Central Luzon Link Expressway (CLLEX) is now available to the Filipino public.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) formally announced the start of the freeway’s full operations yesterday.

In a Facebook post, Secretary of Public Works and Highways Mark Villar shared the news, praising the government’s pioneering infrastructure program as the force behind the finished project.

“Dati nasa game lang, ngayon — totoo na! Salamat, Build Build Build Projects Minecraft Philippines! The Central Luzon Link Expressway is now open,” he said.

Now that it’s functioning at 100 percent, the 30.7-kilometer freeway will connect Tarlac City to Cabanatuan City. It’s expected to significantly reduce travel time between the two cities – from the usual 70 minutes to only 20 minutes.

The first 18 kilometers of the pathway was opened on July 15, 2021, and was inaugurated by President Rodrigo Duterte.

The highway was supposed to be completed last year in December, however, the pandemic delayed construction works.

The road project, which costs P11.811 billion, was funded through the Japan International Coordination Agency (JICA).

With CLLEX now available, traffic along Daang Maharlika will be reduced by 48 percent. It will accommodate more than 11,000 motorists daily.

The second phase of the project, CLLEX Phase II, is already being worked on. It will connect Cabanatuan City to San Jose, Nueva Ecija.

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Image credit: DPWH Secretary Mark Villar’s Official Youtube Channel