The Public Works Ministry announced Tuesday that 11,000 kilometers of road across Sumatra, Java, Bali, Kalimantan and Sulawesi had been prepared to accommodate increased traffic during the Idul Fitri exodus.
The ministry predicts that 17 million people will take part in this year’s exodus, with 3.6 million motorcycles and 1.3 private cars hitting the roads.
Djoko Murjanto, the ministry’s director general for highways, said the ministry had, as of Tuesday, finished the reconstruction, rehabilitation and maintenance of all major thoroughfares.
“We wrapped up all road work 10 days before Lebaran, which was right on schedule,” he said.
“The roads are now fit for travel.”
He added the ministry’s works included repairing damaged roads and bridges, and expanding roads to boost capacity.
The reconstruction and rehabilitation of roads has been performed on several highways such as the northern coast highway, which has been widened to four lanes leading into Kudus, Central Java, according to the ministry’s report.
The report also mentions that the Nagrek traffic circle on West Java’s southern coast highway has been put opened to increase the road capacity and can be used by small cars.
“The safety test of this road, which runs one way, takes place today,” Djoko said.
He warned that, although the road works had been completed, the “potential for traffic jams in all areas remained” because of the sudden surge in traffic especially two days before Lebaran.
“Therefore, I suggest people hit the roads in turns, such as leaving nine or eight days before Lebaran,” he said, adding that the Jakarta to Cirebon road in Java would experience the greatest surge in traffic.
“Overall, we have identified 78 areas of impromptu markets. We have resolved some of these problems by erecting high fences in the areas and cooperating with local law enforcers,” he said.
He also called upon the cooperation of road users in exercising discipline, which would contribute to the smooth running of traffic on the roads, adding that the ministry had plotted out traffic management at important intersections.
He further added that road works were performed not only for the sake of Lebaran, but also to improve the quality of roads in the long-run.
“This year’s budget for road works is Rp. 17 trillion for 38,000 km of roads across the country,” he said, adding that the ministry had spent 54 percent of the budget as of this month.
“As long as the economy ticks, road works will be continuously performed and are not strictly limited to accommodate Lebaran,” he said. ( gzl )