Alhamdulillah (Thank God), the Jakarta-Cikampek elevated toll road is complete, and I have asked the owner (toll road operator) to make it free until New Year
Bekasi, W Java (ANTARA) - Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) inaugurated the Jakarta-Cikampek elevated toll road Thursday, saying that it would be free to use through the Christmas and New Year holiday season. "Alhamdulillah (Thank God), the Jakarta-Cikampek elevated toll road is complete, and I have asked the owner (toll road operator) to make it free until New Year," he said when inaugurating this new toll road at KM 38, which is part of the Bekasi District area.

This 39-kilometer long toll road is expected to reduce traffic congestion significantly, President Jokowi said, adding that congestion, observed daily over the past four years, could be reduced up to 30 percent.

During the construction process of this elevated toll road, traffic jams often occurred along the existing Jakarta-Cikampek toll road because cars and trucks heading to and from Jakarta and Banten Provinces to cities in West Java remained allowed to pass by.

He predicted that some 200,000 vehicles passed by the existing regular Jakarta-Cikampek toll road while construction workers attempted to finish the elevated one.

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At the same time, near the elevated toll road construction sites, there were also light rail transit (LRT) and speed train construction projects.

Due to this difficult condition, President Jokowi said he did appreciate those involved in the completion of this elevated toll road construction project because it would hopefully reduce the traffic congestion that the road users often faced for years.

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President Jokowi has made the toll road construction projects be part of his administration's top development agenda both in his first and second leadership terms.

As revealed by Public Works and Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono, within four years of the Jokowi-Jusuf Kalla administration, for instance, a total of 941 kilometers of toll roads and 3,423 kilometers of national roads had been constructed.

The Trans-Java Highway, connecting the ferry port in Merak, Banten Province, to Surabaya, the capital city of East Java Province, had also been completed, thereby cutting short the travel time and reducing the current logistics costs.

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As part of the central government's prioritized development projects, the toll roads are not merely constructed in Java, but they are also built outside the island, such as Sumatra, Kalimantan, and Sulawesi.

In Sumatra Island, the earlier government's idea of constructing the toll roads connecting the ferry port in Bakauheni, Lampung Province, to cities in Aceh Province, has also been realized during the term of the Widodo-Kalla administration.

Currently, as noted by the Public Works and Housing Ministry, work on the Banda Aceh-Sigli toll road section has begun. This 74-kilometer-long toll road, which is one of the sections of the Trans-Sumatra Toll Road, is targeted for completion in 2024.

During his visit to Aceh Province last year, President Jokowi had expressed optimism that the Trans-Sumatra Toll Road, extending some two thousand kilometers away from Bakauheni in the southern part of Lampung to Aceh, would have been completed in 2024.

The Trans-Sumatra Toll Road Construction project remains underway.

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Translator: Hanni Sofia, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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