Jakarta Promises To Resume Stalled Bridge Repairs

The Jakarta Globe

Muara Angke Bridge has for several years served to link fishing villages on the Jakarta coast to the rest of the city. 

But rising sea levels have seen the bridge regularly inundated, leading to traffic jams in the area. In response to the congestion, the city administration last year began building a second, higher bridge to replace it. 

For residents like Agus Hendriko, this move was a no-brainer. “It’s actually a very good idea by the city to build this bridge because it’ll help reduce the congestion caused by the rising water levels,” he said on Tuesday. 

What he can’t understand, however, is why officials have abandoned the project before its completion. 

“They started building the new bridge at the end of 2010, but for whatever reason they haven’t seen it through,” he said. 

“It’s very unfortunate because this is the only access road to the fish market, and we get lots of large trucks passing through, which causes heavy congestion in the evenings.” 

It’s a similar story over in Cilincing, also in North Jakarta, where Marunda Bridge has been damaged by the container traffic to and from the Marunda industrial estate. 

Ahmad Effendi, a resident, said the bridge had been repaired several times but was quickly damaged again each time. 

“It’s very annoying that the city can’t build a good-quality bridge,” he said. “They know this is an industrial area that sees a lot of heavy trucks coming and going.” 

The Jakarta Public Works Office insists it is addressing both problems. It says it has earmarked Rp 212 billion ($24.8 million) this year to fix three bridges in North Jakarta, including Marunda and Muara Angke, and several roads. The third bridge it plans to work on is North Pluit Bridge, which is also prone to flooding. 

Novizal, head of the office’s bridge unit, said on Tuesday that work on the bridges had not been abandoned. 

“The repairs are being carried over from last year because the projects receive multiyear funding,” he said. “Hopefully we can finish all the repairs this year.”

He blamed the poor quality of the repairs on Marunda Bridge on the steel latticework, which he said was no longer fit for use and would need to be replaced with a concrete structure. The budget for replacing the entire bridge has been set at Rp 40 billion. 

Novizal said his office would also continue work on the new Muara Angke Bridge. “We completed half of it last year, so hopefully we can finish it all this year and open it to the public,” he said, adding the pending work would cost an estimated Rp 7 billion. 

Repairs to North Pluit Bridge have been allocated Rp 15 billion, he said. 

Novizal added another key project this year was the construction of a ramp for the planned Pulogebang bus terminal in East Jakarta. 

“The actual terminal will be on the second floor of the building, so we need to build a ramp that buses can use to get up there,” he said. 

Novizal said the terminal was expected to be completed in 2012 at a total cost of Rp 150 billion, also with multiyear financing.

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