Jakarta (ANTARA) - Construction of the 1.34-kilometer Kendari Bay Bridge is 52 percent complete and once opened is expected to boost connectivity and development in the Southeast Sulawesi capital city, the public works and public housing minister stated.

Minister Basuki Hadimuljono remarked in a statement here on Thursday that the construction of infrastructure, such as bridge, flyover, and tunnel, will boost traffic connectivity and accessibility along with helping people to enhance productivity.

"The bridge should be constructed exquisitely by incorporating the elements of local culture, so it could become a matter of pride for the locals and increase the aesthetic appeal of the city," he remarked.

Hadimuljono noted that the Kendari Bay Bridge will support development of the southern part of Kendari City in Poasia and Bungkutoko Island to be built as an industrial and housing area as well as the construction of the Kendari New Port in the region.

In the meantime, Head of the Southeast Sulawesi National Road Improvement Agency (BPJN) Yohanis Tulak Todingrara affirmed that better connectivity will drive the local economy and speed up development in the region.

"Work on the Kendari Bay Bridge is 52 percent complete and is targeted for completion in 2020," Todingrara stated.

Construction of the Bungkutoto New Port on 66 hectares of land on Bungkutoko Island has been part of the plan to develop Kendari City that will shift the port's operations from the Kota Lama (Old City) area.

In addition to the port, the authority will build supporting facilities for the industrial area spanning an area of 26 hectares (ha), mangrove tracking area covering 24 ha, inter-mode terminal reaching 20 ha, multipurpose terminal of 32 ha, and passenger terminal spanning 23 ha.

The Kendari Bay Bridge is being constructed by a consortium of PT PP and PT Nindya Karya, with the allocated budget reaching Rp802 billion and under a multi-year contract for the 2015-2020 period.

"The people in Southeast Sulawesi have long awaited the bridge passing over Kendari Bay since it will offer easier access from Kota Lama to Poasia that is separated by the bay," he explained.

Presently, people have to board a ferry to cross the bay or spend 30-35 minutes to take a longer route round the bay. The bridge will reduce the travel time to just five minutes.

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Translator: M Razi Rahman, Sri Haryati
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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