SMC SLEX Inc., formerly South Luzon Tollways Corp., said Monday it is spending P4.6 billion this year to partially fund the construction of an expressway from Sto. Tomas in Batangas province to Lucena City in Quezon province.
The company said Toll Road 4 Project, which involves the construction of a new 66.74-kilometer, four-lane toll road, would extend the South Luzon Expressway from TR3 in Sto. Tomas, Batangas to Lucena City at a total cost of P26.1 billion.
The target completion of the project is 2024.
It said construction works in Alaminos, Laguna and Tiaong, Quezon were ongoing. The right-of-way acquisition is also underway.
The new toll road will shorten the travel time from Sto. Tomas, Batangas to Barangay Mayao in Lucena City from the usual three hours to just 45 minutes.
TR4 is a part of SLTC’s 30-year concession which will last until 2036.
SMC SLEX reported a net income of P1.75 billion in 2020, down by 44.2 percent from P3.14 billion in 2019. With the significant decrease in traffic volume due to the implementation of enhanced community quarantine on March 16 in Luzon, toll revenue decreased by 27 percent to P4.55 billion last year from P6.23 billion in 2019.
“The restrictions that were imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic which allowed only essential travel during the period resulted in significant decrease in traffic volume,” the company said.
SMC SLEX said around 3 percent of the total monthly traffic volume were granted toll-free passage for health workers with private vehicles.