The public works and state-owned enterprises ministers on Wednesday officially kicked off the construction of the Benoa-Nusa Dua toll road and Dewa Ruci underpass, the resort island’s latest efforts to cope with the severe traffic congestion that strangles its main tourist route.
The two projects are targeted to be completed by May 2013 in time for the APEC Meeting in 2013 and the Bali Summer Summit in 2013.
The 12-kilometer toll road, which will be built on 18,000 concrete pillars, is estimated to cost Rp 2.49 trillion (US$273.9 million) and a large part of it will run along the island’s southern shoreline.
“This will be the most beautiful toll road in Indonesia and will be a new icon for Bali,” said Akhmad Tito Karim, director of PT Jasa Marga Bali Tol, during the project’s groundbreaking ceremony at Benoa harbor.
The toll road, which will connect Benoa harbor, Ngurah Rai International Airport and the Nusa Dua tourism enclave, is being built under a public-private partnership involving seven state-owned enterprises: PT Jasa Marga Tbk, PT Pelindo III, PT Angkasa Pura I, PT Pengembangan Pariwisata Bali, PT Wijaya Karya Tbk., PT Adhi Karya Tbk., and PT Hutama Karya.
The Bali administration and the Badung regency administration have also invested Rp 100 billion each in the toll road project.
Besides cars, the toll road will also include a special lane for motorcycles.
The construction of the toll road will occupy 2 hectares of mangrove forest, for which the developer has received an approval from the Forestry Ministry. To compensate for the forest damage, PT Jasa Marga will plant 300,000 mangrove trees along the road.
Meanwhile, the Dewa Ruci underpass will be built on the Dewa Ruci junction, a busy intersection next to Mall Bali Galeria in Kuta. It is the critical point of convergence for traffic to and from the island’s most important tourism sites, including Ngurah Rai International Airport, Nusa Dua, Kuta, Sanur, Denpasar and Ubud. Long and prolonged gridlocks are a common sight at and around the intersection. The underpass will be 450 meters long and is estimated to cost Rp 136 billion from the state budget.
Motorists will not have to pay to use the underpass.
Public Works Minister Djoko Kirmanto said that the construction of the toll road and underpass was part of the government’s master plan for the acceleration and expansion of economic development for Bali and Nusa Tenggara.
“We hope that this infrastructure project will be able to spur economic development in Bali and Nusa Tenggara, which mainly rely on the tourism sector, by providing easier access.”
State-owned Enterprises Minister Dahlan Iskan said he appreciated the fast realization of this project.
“This project has been planned and prepared swiftly. I hope it can really be completed in 12 months,” he said, stressing that it would be a major achievement given that a 12 kilometer-long toll road in Surabaya, East Java, had taken 12 years to complete.