The Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (also known as the STAR Tollway or CALABARZON Expressway) is a two-to-four-lane 42-kilometre (26 mi) expressway in the province of Batangas in the Philippines. It is operated by STAR Infrastructure Development Corporation (STAR - IDC).
STAR Tollway parallels most of the route of the President Jose P. Laurel Highway, which spurs off from the Pan-Philippine Highway at Santo Tomas towards Lipa and Batangas City, and the Ibaan-Batangas City segment of the Batangas-Quezon Road. The road mostly traverses rural barangays of the cities and towns it passes and also overlooks several mountains.
STAR Tollway starts as the physical extension of South Luzon Expressway past the overpass with the old PNR railway line to Batangas and an access road for Light, Industry and Science Park at Santo Tomas. Formerly, the toll road ended at Santo Tomas Exit before 2010. The road widens for a short distance at the Santo Tomas toll plaza before narrowing back to two lanes. The road enters Tanauan, with an exit serving the city proper from the west. Past Tanauan Exit, STAR Tollway descends on a scenic curve before ascending on approach to Malvar. Entering Malvar, the road mostly passes rural areas, mostly containing large coconut plantations and small residential areas. Also, within Malvar, Mount Maculot can be seen on the right of the road and Mount Malarayat can be sighted on the left. Afterwards, it enters Lipa, and the road gradually curving before approaching Lipa Exit, which is an access to the city proper, and also to the nearby towns of Mataasnakahoy, Cuenca, and Alitagtag. The exit once served as the tollway's southern terminus until 2007, when STAR Tollway was extended southward towards Batangas City.
Past Lipa Exit, STAR Tollway is mostly dual carriageway, until it narrows in approach to Batangas City. Formerly, this segment is a two-lane expressway from its opening in 2007, until the second carriageway is opened on 2014. The carriageways of this segment is mostly concrete, with the southbound carriageway badly paved.
South of Lipa Exit, the road mostly runs through the rural barangays of Lipa. Then, it curves slightly on approach to San Jose. At approach to Ibaan Exit, the road climbs over the San Jose-Ibaan Road before descending back to ground level. Past Ibaan Exit, STAR Tollway mostly runs a arcing route, traversing several rural barangays of Ibaan and paralleling the Batangas-Quezon Road from Ibaan to Batangas City. The road soon narrows back to two lanes at the bridge on the Ibaan-Batangas City boundary, which is a site of a fatal head-on collision between a jeep and a bus on January 2013. The road becomes a 3-lane road, with a concrete jersey barrier dividing the road, ascending before following a straight course up to the STAR Tollway's southern terminus at Balagtas Rotunda. The road widens at the Balagtas toll plaza, narrows back to 3 lanes, and ends at the Balagtas Rotunda, a roundabout with Jose P. Laurel Highway, Batangas Port Diversion Road, and Batangas-Balete Road.
In an effort to link the different Southern Tagalog Provinces to the National Capital Region, the government with the cooperation of the Provincial Government of Batangas and with the technical and country developmental assistance of the Government of Japan through the Japan Official Development Assistance, made the STAR Tollway project a reality.
The STAR Tollway I, from Santo Tomas to Lipa, was opened in 2001; STAR Tollway II, from Lipa to the Batangas City Port, opened in 2008. It is fully operational for all motorists. Currently, only two lanes of the Lipa-Batangas road have been constructed, and this will be expanded to four lanes once this section reaches capacity. It was opened as part of the Road Development Project of the government, linking the South Luzon Expressway to STAR Tollway onwards to the Batangas Port in Batangas City. The travel time from Manila to Batangas City became 2 hours when Stage 2 opened.
On February 9, 2004, Congresswoman Victoria Hernandez Reyes from the Third Congressional District of Batangas of the House of the Representatives, authored the House Bill 2753, or also known as the "Act of Renaming the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR) to Apolinario Mabini Superhighway (AMS)." On May 15, 2007, PresidentGloria Macapagal Arroyo signed and approved House Bill 2753 to rename the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road to Apolinario Mabini Superhighway, and it was made into a law, now called the Republic Act 9462 (RA 9462).
Announced by the operator, STAR-Infrastructure Development Corporation, on May 16, 2013, the STAR Tollway Upgrading and Rehabilitation Project is stated to begin on July 2013 as announced by SIDC president Melvin Nazareno. Under the project, the expressway would undergo several upgrade and rehabilitation on its roads and facilities in order to keep up with the demand of the expressway. The expressway project includes the following:
The existing 4-lane stretch from Santo Tomas to Lipa was rehabilitated and upgraded from a four lane concrete road to a four lane asphalt road similar to other existing toll roads in the country. The whole stretch of the expressway would be installed with CCTV cameras by installation of fiber-optic cables. Also there is the upgrade of the toll collection system which would make it faster and more seamless and the adding of lights.
On the other hand, the 2-lane stretch of road from Lipa to Batangas City will be rehabilitated and upgraded to a four lane asphalt road similar to the Santo Tomas–Lipa Segment of the expressway with some interchange reworks on some exit to fit this upgrade. Like the Santo-Tomas–Lipa Segment, the whole stretch of the expressway would be installed with CCTV cameras by installation of fiber-optic cables. Also there is the upgrade of the toll collection system which would make it faster and more seamless. The expansion of the Lipa–Batangas City segment commenced on June 2013, and is expected to finish in 24 months, in June 2015 with adding of lights.
Despite a completed connection with South Luzon Expressway which ends at kilometer 57.2, kilometer count on STAR Tollway rather starts at kilometer 60. The kilometer zero is in Rizal Park, despite the discontinuous mileage. Distance (in kilometers, and also in hectometers) is measured on small green highway location markers and metal posts on the middle of the road, and also on the left side of the Ibaan-Batangas boundary to Batangas City segment of the road. Exits are not numbered. The whole route is in Batangas.