Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Several sections of the 1,150-kilometer Trans-Java Toll Road to connect Merak Port in the western tip of Java with Banyuwangi in the eastern part of the island are still under construction.

Yet, parts of the Trans-Java turnpikes that stretch 870 kilometers (km) from Merak to the East Java provincial capital of Surabaya will be readied by the end of this year to serve Christmas and New Year 2019 travelers. The remaining 280 km sections will be completed by the end of 2019.

Hence, Minister of Public Works and Public Housing Basuki Hadimuljono will ensure the readiness of the Trans-Java Toll Road to be used during the upcoming 2018 Christmas and 2019 New Year holidays.

Minister Hadimuljono noted in a written statement on Thursday (Dec 6) that he will review the readiness of the Trans-Java toll road, especially the four sections, measuring a total length of 180 km, that will be inaugurated by President Joko Widodo in December 2018.

The four toll roads are Pemalang-Batang Toll Road, measuring 33 km; Batang-Semarang, spanning 75 km; Salatiga-Solo, reaching 33 km; and Wilangan-Kertosono, stretching 39 km.

"Progress in the construction of the Pemalang-Batang, Batang-Semarang, and Salatiga-Solo toll road sections has reached 99 percent completion. Meanwhile, work on the Wilangan-Kertosono section has reached 95 percent completion. Small work, such as the median concrete barriers, still has to be completed. Next week, I will go there to review it," the minister stated.

In order to ensure the smooth flow of traffic and safety of travelers, the Ministry of Transportation has promised to improve and add regulations to toll road transportation ahead of the opening of the Trans Java Toll Road from Merak to Surabaya.

"Later, some regulations related to safety and comfort will be corrected and added. However, safety is the main aspect," Director General of Land Transportation of the Ministry of Transportation Budi Setiyadi stated during the Pre-Test of Function and Traffic Safety in Surabaya on Friday (Dec 7).

Based on the press release of PT. Jasa Marga Persero, Setiyadi noted that prior to the improvement of the regulation, the Ministry of Transportation will coordinate with the Directorate General of Highways of the Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing; Toll Road Regulatory Agency; and the Traffic Corps of the Indonesian National Police to obtain inputs regarding safety, technical conditions, physical toll roads, and others.

"In the short term, we are voicing (our seriousness and keenness) to offer Trans Java to the wider community by Christmas," Setiyadi said.

On the same occasion, Managing Director of Jasa Marga Desi Arryani said that a feasibility pre-test of the Trans Java Toll Road was conducted to ensure physical operation and readiness as well as safety before the Merak-Surabaya network was opened to the general public.

"We keep an eye on safety issues, so that road users feel comfortable. Ahead of going home this Christmas, there is still time for us to complete everything, from adding signs to other safety devices," said Arryani.

The feasibility pre-test starts from the Surabaya-Mojokerto Toll Road to the Mojokerto-Kertosono Toll Road, resting place 597 B on the Ngawi-Kertosono-Kediri Toll Road, Solo-Ngawi Toll Road, Semarang-Solo Toll Road, Semarang ABC Toll Road, and the Kali Kuto Bridge, which is part of the Batang-Semarang Toll Road.

In the meantime, President Director of state-owned toll road construction firm Waskita Kraya I Gusti Ngurah Putra remarked that the Trans-Java toll road can have dual impacts on national economic activities.

"Toll roads will operate and generate economic growth throughout or around the toll roads," Putra stated at the Waskita Karya office in Jakarta on Thursday (Nov 15).

By using the Trans-Java toll road, with sections connected from one end to another, the route from Jakarta to Surabaya can now be covered in some 10 hours. Thus, goods from East Java to Jakarta or otherwise, for instance, will also arrive at the destinations in fresh condition.

In addition, the frequency of departure of logistics trucks, which was usually only once, could now be increased to twice, leading to increase in productivity.

President Director of Waskita Karya cited as an example his encounter with a consultant who had once disclosed to him that the North-South toll road in Malaysia, after operating for more than a decade, could drive revenues up to some 30 percent of the country`s gross domestic product.

Based on its purpose, the development of toll road infrastructure must be integrated with economic growth centers, such as industrial areas, seaports, airports, tourist areas, and large-scale settlements, so it will provide optimal benefits for businesses, tourism, and industries.

According to President Director of state-owned toll road management firm PT. Jasa Marga Desi Arryani, the connectivity of the Trans-Java toll road, which will be realized in 2019, will have a positive impact on the public, as it will lower logistics costs and boost economic development around the toll road.

She added that the government had targeted to complete the construction of the 1,150-kilometer Trans-Java Toll Road from Merak to Banyuwangi by the end of 2019. Yet by the end of this year, the Trans-Java Toll Road from Merak to Surabaya will have been able to serve Christmas and New Year 2019 travelers.

Editing by Sri Haryati

Reporter: Andi Abdussalam
Editor: Yosep Hariyadi
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