Lopez Holdings

Estrada breaks ground for North Luzon Tollways Project
President Estrada is scheduled at 10 a.m. today to preside over the ground breaking ceremony for the North Luzon Tollways Project (NLTP-Phase 1), a private sector initiative to modernize and upgrade the existing North Luzon Expressway (NLE) in 24 months.

The ceremony will be held at the northwest quadrant/loop of the Sta. Rita Interchange along Kilometer 38 of the NLE in Guiguinto, Bulacan.

Executives of the Lopez Group, led by Oscar M. Lopez, chair of Benpres Holdings Corporation, the heads of local government units in Central Luzon, key members of the Estrada cabinet, the diplomatic corps and captains of industry will be in attendance for this milestone event hosted by the project proponent, Manila North Tollways Corporation (MNTC) headed by Jose "Ping" de Jesus, president and chief executive officer and Jos B.T. Aldon, executive vice president and chief operating officer.

The Project, which will be pursued in three phases, the first phase of which will cost approximately P14.5 billion, will cover:

* Phase One --“ the expansion, upgrading and modernization of the NLE from Balintawak in Quezon City to Sta. Ines in Mabalacat, Pampanga totaling 84 kilometers. Civil works will be done by Leighton Contractors Asia, Ltd.

* Phase Two --“ the construction of the C-5 arc from C.P. Garcia in Diliman, Quezon City to Letre Road in Malabon which is another 22-kilometer roadway; and * Phase Three --“ the construction of the 67-kilometer San Simon-Guagua-Dinalupihan and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority link.

The Lopez Group ventured into road infrastructure development in response to the critical need for investments in this area which is vital to the continuing growth and development of the country. They have forged a strategic partnership with the biggest toll road operator in the world, Egis Projects SA of France and the Philippine National Construction Corporation (PNCC).

When completed, the NLTP-Phase 1 will serve as an efficient and reliable trunk line to the fast developing Central Luzon Growth Corridor, the counterpart of the Calabarzon in the south.

It will transform the present six lanes north and south carriageway from Balintawak to Valenzuela to an eight-lane tollway and four lanes from Burol to Sta. Rita to a six-lane stretch. Thirteen interchanges with new toll plazas will be built and upgraded, including three new interchanges at Marilao, Mexico (Sindalan) and Angeles. Two new flyover structures will be constructed at Balintawak and Dau. Meanwhile, the PNCC, a shareholder of MNTC and the current operator will continue to manage the NLE for the next two years until the construction is complete and operation is officially turned over to MNTC in year 2002.

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Lopez Holdings Corporation (formerly Benpres Holdings Corporation)
4/F Benpres Building, Exchange Road, 1605 Pasig City, Philippines

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