Merak Port turnpike ready for exodus
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The Tangerang-Merak turnpike is now ready for the Idul Fitri exodus as the entire repair work along the 72-
kilometer route has been completed two weeks ahead of the holiday, expected to fall on Aug. 19 and 20.
The toll road that connects the city to Merak Port is the main route used by 90 percent of annual homeward-bound travelers to and from Sumatra.
The toll road operator, PT Marga Mandala Sakti, has just completed the reconstruction with a new layer of concrete and added facilities along the road.
“The work was completed sooner than expected and we hope that motorists can enjoy smoother trips,” president director Wiwik D. Santoso said over the weekend.
The company’s technical and operations director, Soenarto Sastrowiyoto, said that the resurfacing and the provision of supporting facilities had cost the company Rp 905 billion (US$96 million).
The reconstruction included the widening of the road from two to three lanes along the Balaraja-Cikupa section to accommodate traffic that can rise to 120,000 vehicles per day during the exodus period.
He said the company had set up more payment booths at the Cikupa gate to reduce lines and provided eight tow trucks at eight tollgates, which would operate around the clock. The toll-road operator had also doubled the number of sign boards that provide information for road users as well as 20 CCTV cameras to ensure motorists’ safety. For the exodus, the toll-road operator has prepared patrol cars, ambulances and rescue vehicles.
Four rest areas at Kilometer 42 and 68 heading to Merak and at Kilometer 68 and 45 heading to the city were also ready to provide services for travelers, each was equipped with a health post, police station, fuel station and diners. A garage that offered free-of-charge servicing was available at the Kilometer 45 rest area.
“We hope that with the Idul Fitri service programs, motorists will experience smooth and safe trips,” said Soenarto, adding that the company estimated an increase of 6 percent in vehicle volume on the toll road during the exodus this year.
Supriyanto, head of the Merak office of state-owned River, Lake and Crossing Transportation company (ASDP) said that the company had prepared everything to anticipate the upcoming Idul Fitri exodus.
“The peak of the Idul Fitri exodus is estimated for August 17 and 26. We have prepared steps and strategies to ensure a comfortable trip for travelers,” he said on Friday.
He said that ASDP would display its most up-to-date transportation information through its own website, and in print and electronic media.
“We’re also optimizing the ferry operations by cutting sailing times from two hours to 104 minutes each trip and reducing port time from 60 minutes to 40 minutes. We’ll double the number of ticket booths from four to eight for motorcycles and provide larger parking space amounting to almost 10 hectares around the port,” he said.
Separately on Saturday, Transportation Minister EE Mangindaan told officials and businesses at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport to provide the best service for travelers during the Idul Fitri exodus.
“All of you must do your best and do your best job with the highest sense of security for users of the airport,” he said at Terminal II, briefing officials from the airport operator PT Angkasa Pura II, the airport administrator, airline companies, the police, military, the National Search and Rescue Agency, Tangerang Transportation Agency as well as the airport’s business partners.
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