New toll road to ease congestion, increase tourists
Bali Tourism Development Corporation (BTDC), the government-owned company tasked with managing the Nusa Dua tourism enclave, will construct a new 11-kilometer toll road connecting Benoa, Ngurah Rai airport and Nusa Dua. The road is a bid to ease traffic congestion on the existing highway to Nusa Dua, as well as to increase the number of visiting tourists into that area, a senior official said.
“This project will address the severe traffic jams we are experiencing right now,” BTDC operational director I Nyoman Catra said.
The chronic traffic jams at several sections of the Ngurah Rai highway have negatively impacted Nusa Dua. The highway, which spans across major tourist areas, including Sanur, Kuta and Ngurah Rai airport, is the main artery that connects Nusa Dua in the south with popular tourist destinations further north, such as Ubud and Sukawati.
A few years ago the drive from Nusa Dua to Ubud apprently took around 1.5 hours. Nowadays, tourists reportedly can become stuck for up to three hours inside their buses to complete the same trip.
“The toll road will provide a better and more convenient route for tourists,” Cakra added, claiming that the road would increase the number of tourists staying at hotels in Nusa Dua by 10 percent per year.
The consortium that would invest in the toll road was established on Aug. 22. It comprises seven state-owned enterprises, namely PT Jasa Marga, which would act as primary share holder with 60 percent of shares, Wijaya Karya with 5 percent, Hutama Karya with 2 percent, Adhi Karya with 2 percent and BTDC 1 percent.
Two other major shareholders are Pelindo III with 20 percent and Angkasa Pura with 10 percent. Pelindo III is the company that manages Benoa, the island’s largest fishing, ferry and freight port, while Angkasa Pura is the company that runs Ngurah Rai airport.
The construction of the toll road is projected to cost Rp. 2.4 trillion and is expected to be completed by April 2013, a few months before the APEC Summit, which will host a gathering of more than 20 heads of state.
“Ground breaking is slated to take place in October and we are currently still waiting for the project permit and recommendation on environmental impacts from the Bali governor,” he said.
The Bali Environmental Agency stated that it had yet to receive an environmental impact assessment document from either the consortium or its contractor.
“The document should be submitted to the head of the Environmental Agency prior to the commencement of any construction stage of the project. So far, we have yet to receive such documentation,” the agency’s supervision chief I Komang Ardana said, adding that the project would affect around 2.3 square kilometers of mangrove forest.
He said that the consortium should seriously consider the envi-ronmental impacts of the planned toll road before bringing the objective to reality.
“The environmental impact study will take some time because, for instance we must study the impacts of the toll road’s supporting columns to the waves and currents and eventually to the fishermen living near the toll road,” he added.
The provincial public works agency claimed that it didn’t know the details of the project.
“The consortium has sent a letter to the governor, but we have yet to receive any details on the toll road’s engineering design,” agency official Sumerta said.