The extension of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) up to Laoag, Ilocos Norte was originally intended for progressive completion uder the franchise of the Philippine National Construction Corporation (PNCC), from proceeds of the North Tollway operation. The PNCC franchise expired on April 30, 2007. In 2000, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) proposed the North Luzon Expressway Extension (NLEE) Project Phase I (Tarlac to Rosario, La Union) with a proposed implementation period from 2003 to 2006. However, constraints on the DPWH budget hindered the implementation of the proposed NLEE.

The McArthur Highway, which presently serves part of the north-south backbone of north-western Luzon's road network, is already experiencing congestion, especially at the urban/sub-urban centers. Construction of the TPLEX will help in decongesting traffic at the McArthur Highway, providing a safe, reliable and high-speed north-south access.

The proposed tollway alignment starts near the terminus of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway in La Paz, Tarlac and originally terminates in Rosario, La Union. The project is presently under implementation with Section 1, Tarlac to Carmen scheduled for completion at the first quarter of Year 2013. After which, Section 2, Carmen to Urdaneta will be started and will be completed in end of Year 2013. Section 3, Urdaneta to Rosario is proposed for completion in 2014.

The opened portion of the TPLEX Project is from Tarlac-Paniqui and was opened for the public last November 2013 during the All Saint's and All Soul's Day.