President Benigno Aquino III on July 24 led the opening of the Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway (MCX) also known as the Daang Hari-South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) Link Road, the first public-private partnership project awarded by the administration.

Riding an SUV, Aquino personally drove through the MCX tollbooth plaza and obtained a toll card to signal the official opening of the new road.

The MCX is a 4-kilometer road that will connect Bacoor, Cavite to the South Luzon Expressway.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said the MCX will serve as an alternative route from Metro Manila to Cavite and vice versa, cutting travel time by an average of 45 minutes and decongesting traffic in Cavite, Las Piñas, and Muntinlupa area.

The agency said the MCX will also provide new access to the National Bilibid Prison (NBP) property in Muntinlupa City, which is planned to be redeveloped into a mixed commercial, residential and institutional estate.

“We are optimistic that the completion of this toll road would improve Calabarzon’s competitiveness as an investment destination,” DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson said in a recent statement.

The project involved the construction of a four-lane toll road, from the junction of Daang Reyna and Daang Hari in Las Piñas and Bacoor, Cavite to SLEX through the Susana Heights Interchange in Muntinlupa, traversing the NBP.

It was awarded to Ayala Corp. in December 2011. It was scheduled to open last June but was delayed due to interconnection problems with SLEX.