Purwakarta (ANTARA) - Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, reviewed construction work on a tunnel for the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway in Bunder village, Jatiluhur, Purwakarta District, West Java, on Wednesday.

"Soft soil conditions such as silt and clay were found around the location of Tunnel 2, but it can be handled well," he said.

Before reviewing the tunnel, he was briefed by the developer of the national strategic project.

Based on the expert's explanation, the problem of the soft soil condition can be resolved, Pandjaitan said. The construction of Tunnel 2 is targeted to be completed in April 2022, he noted.

Purwakarta district head and officers from the Purwakarta administration accompanied the minister during the inspection.

Earlier, President Joko Widodo had said he expected the Jakarta-Bandung fast train to later be integrated with the Light Rapid Transit (LRT) and Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) in Jakarta to create time-efficiency and acceleration.

He also expressed the hope that the Jakarta-Bandung fast train would demonstrate Indonesia's competitiveness with other countries.

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Meanwhile, Secretary General of the Indonesia Transportation Society Harya Setyaka Dillon highlighted the importance of the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway as a crucial part of Indonesia's public transportation development that can serve as an alternative to toll roads, thereby reducing traffic congestion.

The economic advantages of the high-speed railway might not be felt in the initial five years of the railway's operations, as its benefits would be enjoyed in the long-term, at least 10–30 years after the railway becomes operational, according to Dillon.

"It is not different than toll roads, airports, and ports that begin to be profitable 15 years after becoming operational," Dillon noted.

High-speed railway operator PT Kereta Cepat Indonesia-China (KCIC) also confirmed that the construction work on the railway system is 79-percent complete and efforts will be made to complete and operationalize it by the end of 2022.

The company said it is striving to expedite the construction of the system's 237 points despite the COVID-19 pandemic significantly hindering progress, with priority placed on completing three of the total 13 tunnels on the railway's route.

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Translator: Khumaini, Azis Kurmala
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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