Sat, 15 May 2004

Eastern part of JORR ready next year

Wahyuana, Bekasi

For Yanto, going to the office means being trapped in lengthy congestion every working day. He usually drives the 25 kilometers from his home in Bintara, Bekasi, to his office on Jl. Rasuna Said, South Jakarta.

Yanto has to leave home at 6 a.m. so that he can arrive at the office before 8 a.m. But sometimes he is still late.

His story is similar to that of thousands of other office employees in Jakarta who live in Bekasi. Chronic traffic congestion has forced them to set aside more time to reach their offices. To avoid being late, they have to leave home as early as possible.

However, this problem has been addressed by toll road operator PT Jasa Marga in completing its construction of the eastern part of the Jakarta Outer Ring Road (JORR) through the Cikunir toll gate.

By taking this route, motorists can disperse to their respective destinations via a number of routes: the inner city, Pondok Indah, Jagorawi or Cikampek toll roads.

The eastern part of the JORR is expected to be completed in early 2005.

PT Jasa Marga project officer Sunarto Sastro Wiyoto said recently that the operator needed only to complete the four- kilometer section from Hankam Raya to Jati Asih and another four- kilometer section from Jati Asih to Cikunir.

"We hope to speed up construction so that by February next year the public can access the toll road," he said, adding that construction for the two sections of toll road started in February 2004.

The road will be 29.5 meters wide, with two lanes in each direction. It is estimated that the toll road will accommodate around 20,000 vehicles per day.

The Rp 370 billion (US$41.6 million) project, however, still faces some problems, particularly related to land acquisition.

Eight land owners in Jati Asih, whose total land holding is 8,750 square meters, are refusing to sell their property. They have refused an offer from PT Jasa Marga based on a survey of market prices conducted in 1997.

Sunarto said that there was a new agreement on the acquisition, pending a municipal decree from the Bekasi mayor.

"We hope the problem can be solved by August."

PT Jasa Marga spokesman Zuhdi Saragih said that the project had been financed by proceeds from the sale of bonds issued by the company.

The JORR project was planned long ago, in the early 1990s, to deal with chronic traffic congestion in Jakarta. Once completed, the road will connect Tangerang, Kebon Jeruk, Ulujami, Pondok Pinang, Jagorawi, Cikunir, Cakung, Cilincing and Tanjung Priok. The project was halted due to the monetary crisis that hit the country in late 1997.

The eastern part of the JORR was previously developed by PT Marga Nurido Bhakti, previously owned by Djoko Ramiadji and former president Soeharto's eldest daughter Siti Hardiyanti "Tutut" Rukmana, before being acquired by the now-defunct Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency in 1998. The project was later handed over to PT Jasa Marga to complete it.