Sat, 03 Apr 2004

City to use Rp 300b for busway corridors

Damar Harsanto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Jakarta Administration plans to use Rp 300 billion (US$34.9 million) of its Rp 836 billion reserve fund to finance the construction of the two additional busway corridors.

"I have told my officials to use the reserve fund to finance the project. We will keep Rp 500 billion (in the fund), but Rp 300 billion will be used to finance city projects, including the busway," Governor Sutiyoso told reporters at City Hall on Friday.

According to Sutiyoso, the hefty Rp 800 billion reserve fund was "too much" for Jakarta, but the governor has yet to receive approval from City Council to tap the reserve fund.

The new busway corridors will stretch from Pulogadung, East Jakarta, to Harmoni, Central Jakarta, and from Harmoni to Kalideres, West Jakarta. The construction of the two corridors are slated to break ground simultaneously some time in the middle of this year.

IGKG Suena, assistant to the City Secretary for Development Affairs, said the project would face a construction challenge through narrow streets.

For example, Suena said an overpass was needed in the Roxy area to overcome the already congested traffic there.

He also said the planned corridors would not reduce the number of lanes on the road, but would make each lane narrower than its current width.

"It's just like Jl. Sisingamangaraja, where the lanes will be made narrower to accommodate the busway corridor," Suena said.

Suena had turned down the original design submitted by TransJakarta Busway Management head Irzal Z Djamal for a transit terminal in Harmoni, because of limited space in the area.

"Instead of a transit terminal, we will prepare (the roads around) the National Monument Park to be used as intersection points for the busway," he said.

The new corridors have been designed to accommodate three busway routes along Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat.

"The budgets for the new corridors as well as the procurement of new buses have yet to be calculated. We don't know when the new corridors will be ready," Suena said.

The administration plans to build 14 busway corridors across the city to alleviate the worsening traffic in the capital.

Suena said the city transportation, public works, park and public lighting agencies were drawing up a budget for the project.

Meanwhile, Rp 120 billion from the 2004 city budget has been allocated to finish construction on supporting infrastructure for the first busway corridor from Blok M, South Jakarta, to Kota, West Jakarta. The money has been used to finance the construction of canopies over all busway shelters, an underpass in Kota and to procure more buses. The budget will also cover the planning stage of the next busway corridors.

The administration also plans to alter the fast lanes on Jl. Sudirman and Jl. Thamrin so there will be three fast lanes, in place of the existing two. However, the plan is strongly opposed by the public, because the plan entails scrapping the median strip separating the slow and fast lanes and felling the trees growing on it.

Sutiyoso has promised that the next busway corridors would minimize the felling of trees.