The Jakarta Post
President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo on Friday officially inaugurated the Gempol-Pandaan toll road, which is expected to increase the efficiency of logistics activities and ease the flow of goods in East Java.
During the inauguration, Public Works and Public Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono said the Gempol-Pandaan toll road was built to support Surabaya's metropolitan road network.
'The toll road will help ease mobility in Pandaan and its surrounding area, which is one of the industrial areas in the southern part of the Surabaya city,' Basuki said in a statement received by The Jakarta Post on Friday.
'This toll road would also significantly help lessen the traffic congestion on the existing inter-city roads connecting Surabaya and Malang,' he continued.
Basuki added that the Gempol-Pandaan toll road, which was constructed by PT Jasamarga Pandaan Tol, would also be a hub for the long-awaited trans-Java highway.
Following the operation of the toll road, East Java's economic potential, including in tourism, is expected to grow in line with the increased accessibility to Surabaya, which is the province's economic center, the minister said.
The total investment to construct the 13.61 kilometer (km) toll road amounted to Rp 1.47 trillion, which came from both the company's equity and bank loans. The company has secured a concession to operate the toll road for 37 years.
The 1.56 km long second phase will be operated in conjunction with the Pandaan-Malang toll road.
PT Jasamarga Pandaan Tol is a consortium of construction companies comprising state-run toll road operator PT Jasa Marga ' which holds the largest share of 78.58 percent ' PT Pasuruan (11.84 percent) and Pt Margabumi Matraraya (9.58 percent).
By August or September this year, Jasa Marga would also begin to operate the Gempol-Pasuruan and Surabaya-Mojokerto segments, which have a combined length of 63.78 km along with the Gempol-Pandaan section.
The Gempol-Pandaan toll road is also expected to help reduce traffic during the annual Idul Fitri exodus that will take place in July.
The government is also planning to begin the operation of the 116 km long Cikampek-Palimanan toll road in West Java this month, which will reduce traffic jams along Java's northern coastal highway (Pantura) by 50 percent during the holiday.
The number of homebound travelers driving along Pantura using private cars and motorcycles is estimated to reach 4.2 million this year, an increase of 7.5 percent from last year.
During the inauguration, Jokowi also announced that the government would cut the rates of all toll roads operated in the country by 25 to 35 percent during the Idul Fitri holiday.
'Starting on June 13 at midnight, the Suramadu Bridge will be free of charge for motorcycles and the toll will be reduced by between 25 and 35 percent from 10 days before Idul Fitri to five days afterwards,' the president said.
Reported earlier, state-owned toll road operator PT Jasa Marga said it would begin the construction of the Solo-Ngawi-Kertosono toll road, connecting cities in Central and East Java, in August this year.
President Jokowi led the ground-breaking for the toll road on April 20.
'We will open the bidding for construction companies in June and the construction of the toll road will begin two months afterwards,' Adityawarman said.