Completion of Pandaan-Malang toll road to be accelerated: ministry

Completion of Pandaan-Malang toll road to be accelerated: ministry

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Public Works and Public Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono confirmed that work on the Pandaan-Malang toll road project will be expedited to meet the aspirations of the community that had waited since long.

At present, section 1-3 of the Pandaan-Malang Toll Road section is operational, while a target has been set to complete work on the section 4-5 in November 2019.

"Expectations ride high over the entire Pandaan-Malang Toll Road section being completed sooner," the minister noted in a written statement received in Jakarta on Monday.

Minister Basuki clarified that the tariff had yet to be applied during the socialization period for the public.

He noted that the residents had eagerly awaited the toll road segment to become operational, for which the work should be stepped up, including to ensure the homecoming flow of this year's Idul Fitri festivity is smooth.

In the meantime, Director General of Highways of the Ministry of PUPR Sugiyartanto noted that the 4.8-kilometer-long Pandaan-Pandaan Section 4 Toll Road to Malang City can be opened to the public during homecoming.

"The progress in work has reached 87 percent completion, but we can operate it to facilitate the homecoming flow. It is just that the exit gate in Pakis is not too big, so some of the traffic flows can be directed to pass through Pakis while diverting some through Singosari," Sugiyartanto explained.

At the Singosari exit, work is also ongoing on the Karanglo underpass, which helps to reduce the flow of traffic from Malang to Surabaya, or vice versa, with vehicles traveling out of Singosari to Batu to prevent congestion.

He stated that the operation of the Pandaan-Malang toll road reduced the travel time and costs of mobilizing people and goods between Surabaya and Malang and also boosted the tourism sector, such as the tourist areas and Prigen safari park, Wonosari tea garden, Singosari temple, and Batu tourist area.

Moreover, the Pandaan-Malang toll road will increase access to the Singosari Special Economic Zone and Sultan Abdul Rachman Saleh Airport.

President Joko Widodo had earlier stated that the Pandaan-Malang Toll Section I-III, specifically Pandaan-Singosari, was free for the public until this year's  Idul Fitri festivity as a form of testing and introducing it to the masses.

"I whispered to the BUMN minister that do not pay first until Lebaran, as an experiment," Jokowi remarked while inaugurating the Pandaan-Malang Toll Section I-III at the location of the Pandaan-Malang Exit Gate, Section III, the Singosari Toll Gate, Malang Regency, East Java, Monday.

Jokowi noted that SOE Minister Rini Sumarno had approved the request, so the Pandaan-Malang Toll Road section I-III, spanning 30.7 km in length, was free for the public.

The president pointed to the community's eagerness to use the Surabaya-Malang toll road since the travel time had reached three to 3.5 hours.

"The travel time was earlier three hours, and it could also reach 3.5 hours. Now, (this toll road) has been completed, so the estimated travel time will be an hour," the president noted.

The head of state admitted that construction of the Pandaan-Malang Toll Road had not yet to be completed, with some 7.8 kilometers of it scheduled for completion at the year-end.