The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Pre-Appraisal Mission of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) ended on Monday, July 3, 2023 the week-long detailed discussion for the proposed Dalton Pass East Alignment Road Project connecting the provinces of Nueva Ecija and Nueva Vizcaya.

“We are very pleased with the progress we have made in our discussions with the JICA Pre-Appraisal Mission and we look forward to securing the support of the Government of Japan for the Dalton Pass East Alignment Road Project – an ambitious undertaking that aims to connect Nueva Ecija and Nueva Vizcaya while reducing traffic congestion and improving road safety”, said DPWH Senior Undersecretary Emil K. Sadain.

The Minutes of Discussion for the Dalton Pass East Alignment Road Project between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines represented by DPWH and JICA was signed by Senior Undersecretary Sadain and Project Director Benjamin A. Bautista of Unified Project Management Office – Roads Management Cluster I (Bilateral) and Senior Deputy Director Yosuke Nishii and Assistant Deputy Director Keisuke Yamagami of JICA Southeast Asia Division 5 – Southeast Asia and Pacific Department.

JICA, an incorporated administrative agency in charge of administering Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA), is one of the world’s largest bilateral aid agencies supporting infrastructure development in the Philippines by providing technical cooperation, ODA loans, and grant aid.

In his report to DPWH Secretary Manuel M. Bonoan, Senior Undersecretary Sadain said that the JICA Pre-appraisal Mission from June 26 to July 3, 2023 also had detailed discussions with officials of the Department of Finance (DOF) and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

Dalton Pass East Alternative Road Project

In light of the “Build Better More” program of the Marcos administration, the Dalton Pass East East Alignment Road is included in the NEDA updated lists of Infrastructure Flagship Projects.

During the Philippine President’s Official State Visit in Japan on February 8 to 12, 2023, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio have agreed on working toward early loan provision for the construction of the Dalton Pass East Alignment Alternative Road and two (2) other projects which have available completed feasibility studies under JICA grant namely the Central Mindanao High-Standard Highway and Second San Juanico Bridge.

Part of the Pan-Philippine Highway or Daang Maharlika which is the country’s backbone road network, the Dalton Pass Road section is the economic and transportation gateway between Central Luzon and Cagayan Valley Region.

The Dalton Pass East East Alignment Road with estimated construction cost of ₱37 Billion is a proposed four (4)-lane 23.5-kilometer road that will decongest heavy traffic and solve the problem of travelers who face regular closures at the current Dalton Pass due to natural disasters by delivering an alternative road that connects the cities and provinces of San Jose City, Nueva Ecija to Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya and vice versa.

The proposed project, categorized as High Standard Highway Road under DPWH High Standard Highway Master Plan, will have twin-tube long-distance tunnel and 10 bridges and considered for application under the Special Terms for Economic Partnership (STEP) Loan to ensure construction safety and efficiency as well as adequate and appropriate operation and maintenance upon its completion. Specifically, Japanese technologies and experiences will be applied in the areas of mountain tunnel excavation and construction method, facilities inside the tunnel such as communication and ventilation system, and operation and maintenance.

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