The Jakarta Post
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has said the first toll road in Kalimantan will be opened soon with construction now 86 percent complete.
“Kalimantan will have its first toll road. It will span 99.35 kilometers from Balikpapan to Samarinda [both in East Kalimantan]. Earlier this month, construction was 85.7 percent complete,” said Jokowi via his Twitter account, @jokowi.
The toll road, he said, would cut the trip from the oil-and-gas city of Balikpapan to the provincial capital of Samarinda from three hours to one hour.
The toll road’s construction cost Rp 9.9 trillion (US$701 million) with the budget coming from a partnership between the government and state-owned compamy PT Jasamarga, which built sections two to four of the toll road, which covers 66.43 km.
Construction began in 2010, during President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s administration. At that time the governor was Awang Faroek Ishak.
However, financial troubles halted construction in 2012. In November 2015, Jokowi relaunched the project. In 2016, Jokowi visited the project, accompanied by Awang, who is currently suffering from health problems.
Public Works and Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono previously said in a press release that the road would be opened in August.
The first section, spanning 22.03 km from Balikpapan to Samboja will be finished in April. Section two from Samboja to Muara Jawa and section three from Muara Jawa to Palaran will be finished in March.
Section four from Palaran to Samarinda is planned to be finished in July. The last section, from Balikpapan to Sepinggan Airport, spanning only 11.09 km, would be finished in August, the minister said.
Currently, the two biggest cities in the province are connected by the 110 km Jl. Soekarno-Hatta, built in the late 1970s. It is known by Balikpapan’s expatriates as the “Russian Road” because it was built by a contractor from Russia.