SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union – To ease the flow of vehicles once the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx) is completed next year, two exits were proposed by La Union officials to prevent traffic congestion and spur economic development in the province.

Mario Ortega, former executive assistant of Gov. Manuel Ortega who resigned on Dec. 8, to run as substitute candidate for governor, made the proposal to the provincial board of La Union.

As proposed by the younger Ortega, there should be an exit before Rosario town proper going to Baguio and the Cordillera and another exit after the town going directly to the national highway in La Union, which can also be accessed by motorists going to Dagupan and Lingayen, Pangasinan.

“I have explained my proposal to the provincial board members about he matter (exit points) and my position is for the economic benefit of La Union, ” the young Ortega said.

Ortega also disclosed that the provincial board also passed aresolution supporting the proposal of former Pangasinan Representative Mark Cojuangco to modify the TPLEx’s exit plan for it to avoid traffic in the thickly populated areas and agricultural lands in Sison and SanFabian towns in Pangasinan.

“Traffic is indeed a very big problem and it is already experienced in Urdaneta, where vehicles are stalled and clog the area because there is only one exit point. Motorists coming from TPLEx are faster and there will be traffic gridlock..But if it is divided into two exits in La Union, then traffic will not get worse,” Ortega said.

He said that aside from solving the traffic, there will also be economic development in between the two exit points in La Union
because the area would be an ideal site for business and industries.

The opening of TPLEx will boost the tourism industry in La Union and in the other Ilocos provinces and the delivery of goods and services will be faster, according to Ortega.

Ilocos congressmen have also asked the Department of Public Works and Highways for the extension of TPLEx up to Laoag City in Ilocos Norte.

It was learned that a feasibility study for the extension is now being conducted so it would be ready once the TPLEx is completed next year. Jun Elias/